City of Seligman tweaks lagoon upgrade

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Discoveries in design necessitated additional $3,000 to cost

Last fall, the city of Seligman hired Olson Associates, a Springfield-based engineering firm, to help update and improve its 34-year-old irrigation system used at the city lagoon, which stores the city's sewage and waste water.

Continual breakdowns in the system led to extra water in the lagoon, and extra costs to the city to pump it out because the rain reel equipment used to pump water was outdated and not the best design, according to City Clerk Brian Nichols.

That original estimated cost of $60,000 included the complete site plan, stationary gun configurations, the length and amount of piping, the grid layout and materials list.

"We have a whole layout that Olsson has been working on that we've broken into nine phases," Nichols said. "Not every phase will be used. We're just making a plan. The city's plan was to work on three guns at a time. Each spray gun costs about $2,500, and we're looking at buying about 23 guns."

Each of the phases was estimated to cost about $20,000, and each phase would consist of one long stretch of pipe and three guns, with one stretch of pipe equaling about 1,000 feet.

Now, several months into a planning process that was supposed to have been completed last fall, the engineering firm requested more money. Initially, the firm charged $5,000, and it ended up asking for an additional $3,000, making their total fee $8,000. But as the project unfolded, changes were needed, which justified the price increase.

"We figured to replace the rain reel equipment, it would cost us $60,000," Nichols said. "That's when we decided instead of doing that, why not design stationary guns there? It was taking $60,000 and putting it to better use, into stationary guns that would last a lot longer than the rain reels.

"We consulted with Olsson to draw up new design specifications, which is required by Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They gave us an original price of $5,000, and the work was supposed to be completed in 2 months back in October [2014]. We revised it many times and made many drafts and changes back and forth. Part of the original work order was once they designed everything, they would submit it to DNR to get a construction permit. We finally, six-months later, hashed out a design.

"The design then had to be changed because we got actual information of what our system was capable of verses the manufacturers' specs on the pump. So, just because you put in a 700-gallon minimum pump, when we figured it out, our actual flow we could measure was 375-gallons per minute. So, we had to go back and redesign everything again.

Nichols said Olsson reduced the amount of guns and size of guns and came back with an additional drawing.

"Then, they shot us an additional work order wanting another $3,000," he said. "It is a lot, but at the same time, we've been going round and round and they've been wonderful. I don't have a single complaint. They've answered every question.

"Yes, we're paying out an additional $3,000. It's not ideal, but it's justifiable. A lot of it wasn't their fault. We also changed a few things on how they'll do the breakout. Not all nine phases will be done. Some of them require additional information.

Nichols said the city then will have to change its permit, as the original permit has restrictions.

"You can only put so much water over so many days onto that soil, because they tested how much that soil can handle without pooling and flooding out the field," he said. "So, we currently have a permit for the area we have, and we're looking at property to the west and the east to irrigate that would ideally be a great backup to discharge water in case we have a bunch of rain again. It's another area that is a fair distance from the current area that we could irrigate and get rid of additional water.

"This was all stuff they [Olsson] hadn't counted on. We had them do a lot of extra work and drug the project out. When we initially started, they had a two-month time frame. That wasn't the case, because we didn't supply them with the correct information. They gave us the complete breakout of all the materials that will be needed, and how much pipe. Even the bids on materials are coming in less than anticipated.

Nichols said the city's end result is hopefully to get a construction permit filed to at least finish two of the phases before the end of the year.

Throughout the process, Nichols said the city has been pleased with firm, which has always been available and responded promptly to the city's questions and concerns.

"They were great and worked with us," Nichols said. "They've come down many times to discuss things with us. With Olsson drawing up the plans and submitting them to the Department of Natural Resources for approval, once approved, we can submit an application for a construction permit to start the lines."

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