2012-05-31 / Front Page

Council takes on west side issues

Project reveals soil contamination on 1st

MANISTIQUE – The west side infrastructure project has hit snags in the form of contaminated soil and a substantial change order. In Tuesday night’s meeting of the Manistique City Council, members discussed the project, along with passing measures to correct the looming issues.

According to Mayor David Peterson, on the west side portion of the $8.6 million infrastructure project, contractor Hebert Construction Company, of Iron

River, encountered contaminated soil while digging under South 1st Street. The construction crew uncovered what they believe to be gasoline in the soil, he explained, which is presumed to have been leaked from an old gas station previously located in the area.

In order to correct the matter, Peterson explained the contractor and city have been in touch with the Department of Environmental Quality. Instead of paying to remove the soil, which would require special disposal measures, due to its contamination, the city has ordered special gaskets to place on the new water main. These gaskets are meant to keep any contamination from entering the water pipes, and will allow the contractor to put the contaminated soil back in the location from which it came.

“It’s a minor cost, but not as substantial cost like it would be if we had to remove the soil,” Peterson explained. “We’ve been in contact with all the proper authorities and they’re (the contractor) working with them to make sure they’ve got approval from DEQ.”

For now, City Manager Sheila Aldrich stated that the construction crews have moved on to 2nd Street, and will return to 1st Street once DEQ permission and the special gaskets are obtained. The gaskets are estimated to arrive in approximately two weeks, she added.

Another glitch in the west side infrastructure project was revealed when city officials realized the Michigan Department of Transportation plans to use thicker, more expensive asphalt than the city to pave their section of the project. Included in this section is Deer Street (M-94) from 5th Street to Chippewa Avenue. According to Water/Wastewater Superintendent Corey Barr, the city had not originally planned to complete any infrastructure work on South Fifth Street. This was due to the fact that the street has newer water main and no storm water issues, he noted.

“I really think that, since DOT is … paying for a lot of asphalt – a lot thicker than we would normally put on the roadway – it would be in our best interest to replace that sanitary (sewer),” he said.

Barr explained this replacement would consist of 400 feet of 8-inch sanitary sewer line, and would be change order number four for the infrastructure project. He added that the contractor and project engineering firm, Coleman Engineering, had already developed a plan and estimated cost for the replacement – approximately $38,000 for the work, and $4,500 in additional engineering fees.

When asked by Aldrich if the council could wait until the next regular meeting to make a decision, Barr noted that this could cause problems with the overall project timeline.

“Because we’re adding extra time and extra work for contractors … it has the potential of screwing up their scheduling as far as getting it in,” he said.

Donna Lynts, engineer with Coleman, explained that, since MDOT planned on having Elk and South 5th Street completed and paved by July 4, in order to use the streets as a detour while they complete M94 work, Work on the sewer line would need to be started right away. In addition, the contractor would need to revise their DEQ permit for sanitary sewer, she noted, also adding more time.

Funds for the 5th Street sanitary sewer line would come from the sewer contingency fund for the west side project, explained Lynts. This fund originally consisted of approximately $189,000, she said, but, when the city changed the size of the lateral pipes extending to each resident’s house within the project, this took around $30,000 from the fund.

“My concern is … two weeks into the project, you’re going to use half of your contingency,” Mayor David Peterson said, adding it would make it difficult to not approve the change order and risk having to dig up the new pavement if something happens to the older sewer line.

Council approved the change order and additional engineering costs unanimously.

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