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Inspection of solar field reveals 13 deficiencies

Published December 12. 2012 05:03PM

Summit Hill Water Authority officials are frustrated by contractors and with good reason as they learned that a recent inspection of their solar field by Reading Electric revealed 13 deficiencies, some that are serious requiring immediate action. The project which was supposed to be completed by August 31, 2011 has dragged on for over 15 months. Yesterday authority solicitor Joe Velitsky sent a letter to Miller Brothers listing the corrections they need to make to the field they built.

"These corrections need to be done by Miller Brothers or we will need to pull their bond and get another contractor," said Authority Engineer Ron Tirpak.

Chairman Lou Alexander outlined the $30,000 worth of repairs needed as found by Reading Electric including the surge devices, startup commissioning and several other items. He also pointed out that their engineer is has incurred $20,000 in fees for doing the extra work created by not having the field completed on time. Tirpak added some of the more serious issues include lack of disconnects and improper grounding of the field.

"By the time we are done, we will owe $53,000 to fix this, but they will owe us another $30,000," said Alexander. "Personally I think we owe them nothing because we have [had] to go to Reading Electric to get [the deficiencies outlined] to fix it."

Tirpak said at this point the authority can do nothing but wait to hear from Miller Brothers attorney. He said if they refuse the authority would need to claim the bond and either the bonding company would fix it or the authority would find someone to fix the field. He pointed out the money for the project still held by the authority would then go to the bonding company, but the liquidated damages accumulating for the project being overdue would still be owed to the authority.

Alexander also mentioned that there was another party in this project that he felt was partially responsible and that was the inspections performed by Barry Isett and Associates of Allentown.

"We hired these folks [Isett] to protect our interests and something went awry," Alexander said as he questioned how Isett's inspectors allowed the project to proceed as these deficiencies accumulated. He told the board that while Carbon Engineering was doing their job and notifying BIA when inspections should be done, they apparently missed all of these deficiencies as they signed off on the project as it proceeded.

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