County seeks $2.2 million from Nacimiento Pipeline contactor
Taxpayer money initially will be used for pipeline repairs
The county of San Luis Obispo is seeking reimbursement for the cost of repairs and investigation into the leaks from the Nacimiento water pipeline project’s initial contractor, Teichert Construction. The total is estimated at $2.2 million, $1.6 million of that is for the repair alone.
“We have not, at this point, filed any court action [against Teichert Construction],” SLO County Public Works Deputy Director Mark Hutchison said, adding that the county is still working to identify exactly why the pipe is leaking. “So far Teichert has been pretty quiet, so we don’t know [what they will do].”
Hutchison said that Teichert has been invited to perform its own investigation into the cause of the leaks. When work on the repair project begins, Teichert will lose any opportunity to investigate.
Since June, when the Nacimiento water pipeline was shut down, the county of San Luis Obispo has been running tests on the pipeline to determine the cause. The repair is being paid for from the construction fund savings and participating agencies and it budged in the 2014-15 Nacimiento Water Project Fund.
The leak was discovered at the end of June and caused the pipeline, which supplies supplemental water to the communities of Atascadero, parts of Cayucos, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Templeton, to be shut down ever since. After the initial leak was discovered, numerous additional leaks were discovered and it was determined that a patch repair for each separate leak would not be suitable.
In August, Hutchinson said that it was expected that the pipeline would be running by mid-September, but now — in December — it is not supplying supplemental water to the communities it serves.
“At this point, the district — which is the county — [has determined that the best course of] action is to move forward with a slip liner,” Hutchison said. The slip liner will run 1,800 feet.
The county put the project out to bid on Dec. 2 after the County Board of Supervisors approved it at its meeting that day. The bids are due Dec. 22. Hutchison said a contractor should be on board by January and the pipeline up and running by April 2015.
“One of the concerns of putting a new pipe inside the old pipe is it reduces the flow capacity,” Hutchison said, adding that one option would be installing a second pipe next to the existing pipeline, though that would mean additional costs.