BRATTLEBORO -- With completion of work on the town's new wastewater treatment now months overdue, the Selectboard is considering seeking damages from the construction company that led the project.
PC Construction was supposed to have all of the work on the $32 million project done by the end of 2012 and the contract with the company allows the town to seek damages of up to $1,500 per day.
Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland told the Selectboard this week that PC Construction should have all of the work completed by the end of November and the town is going to have to decide how it wants to proceed in trying to recover the money it lost during construction delays.
"In our contract with PC there is the possibility of liquidated damages," Moreland said. "At the present time staff is meeting with the engineering firm, with our attorneys, and we are putting together a strategy for a resolution to this project and hope to have more detailed information for the board next month."
In 2009 Town Meeting Representatives approved spending $32.8 million on the wastewater treatment plant.
The town held a ceremonial ribbon cutting in March 2013 to mark the opening of the plant, but work has continued at the plant, and there have been problems with the SCADA monitoring and control system.
As of Oct. 31, approximately 134 percent of the project contract time had elapsed.
"The delayed construction schedule continues to impact the associated engineering budgets for this project and operating costs to the town," Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, the engineering firm leading the job, told the board.
Former Public Works supervisor Rick Ethier, who is still helping see the town through the project, said most of the work is done
"Most of the construction is complete. We are running the plant," Ethier said. "PC has a presence there because we have had some warranty issues. Any work, they have to be involved in, because it still under their jurisdiction. There are things happening, but as far as construction, that has stopped."
According to notes provided to the board members at their last meeting, "Discussions between the town, PC and Hoyle Tanner are working to identify the specific areas of concerns to be addressed."
The board has been discussing the town's strategy in executive session, but Moreland said with work closing out the board will soon have to decide how much money in damages it will seek from the construction and engineering firms.
"This process is still coming together," Moreland told the board Tuesday. "There have been a series of change orders along the way not all of which have been accepted by either the engineering firm, or by the town. Those are beginning to get diminished, but there are still a substantial portion of them on the list."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com; or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. You can follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.