City pursues new wastewater treatment plant design companies | News, Sports, Jobs


LOCK HAVEN – Inadequate training, lack of data collection, equipment malfunctions, generator problems and “Bait and exchange” tactical.

These are some of the charges that the town of Lock Haven has listed in a civil lawsuit against design companies involved in planned upgrades and subsequent construction of a new 20 S wastewater treatment system. Hanna St. over six years ago.

The factory opened on October 1, 2014 and has since faced several costly issues related to work carried out by Larson Design Group Inc. of Williamsport and its subcontractors, O’Brien & Gere Engineers Inc., of Maryland, and Layne Christensen Company, of New York, according to court documents.

When city authorities first hired the design companies in 2007, it involved upgrading the existing treatment plant to better clean the wastewater before discharging it into waterways in accordance with new mandates. state at the time, at a cost of approximately $ 22.5 million. The system was intended to operate more efficiently and be profitable for the city.

However, that cost rose to $ 32 million in 2013 when Larson said the plant needed to be moved to a new site close to the original.

The court documents, submitted by city attorney Justin Houser of Coploff, Ryan & Houser and signed by city manager Gregory Wilson, accuse Larson and the contractors of failing to exercise due diligence throughout the process.

“Failure to do due diligence resulted in the city receiving a $ 32 million wastewater treatment plant that fails to meet its target or capacity while accumulating operating costs , constantly increasing maintenance and compliance that must be evaluated for the innocent taxpayers of Lock Haven ”, the document reads.

Among these charges is a “Bait and exchange” tactical. According to documents, Larson initially presented the experience of Dr. Sami Nasr of OB&G, a “Leading expert in the field”, as a project manager.

“The city has no record of Dr. Nasr’s physical participation in design meetings, no record that he provided process design information, or even that he was employed at OB&G at any time during the phase. project design “, read documents.

Moreover, based on information and belief, the city believes that Nasr was terminated by the company during the project without notifying city staff.

Gwin Dobsin & Forman, the city’s engineering firm, has conducted several investigations into the issues starting in 2016.

GDF’s findings revealed that the design company had failed to properly collect data related to the operation of the plant, failed to provide appropriate on-site inspection services, or successfully trained employees of the plant. factory when installing the new system.

“The failure to train design professionals after construction and the virtual abandonment of sewage plant staff left them on their own to learn a completely new system, driven by new, unknown technology. which greatly contributed to the general confusion of the initial operations of the plant and created a breach. of PSA and their professional standard of care ”, read documents.

A Pooling and Service Agreement (PSA) defines the rules governing a set of securitized mortgages.

Replacing the power supplies for its UV disinfection system adds to the problems encountered by the plant. “Partly caused by design professionals failing to protect systems from freezing temperatures and inadequate ventilation to prevent overheating of electrical components in summer” read documents.

The installed backup generator was also not wired correctly, leaving several key parts of the installation without power in the event of an outage. The generator also suffered long-term damage by “Wet stacking” due to insufficient load to fully seat the rings in the engine, according to the documents.

Ten charges have been filed against the companies:

– All three were charged with professional negligence, breach of implied warranty, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

– Larson was charged with breach of contract (relationship contract) and breach of contract (PSA).

– O’Brien & Gere were charged with breach of contract (journalist contract) and inducement / fraud fraud.

The complaint was filed by District Judge Craig P. Miller’s office on Wednesday, September 30, with the request for a jury trial.

The wastewater treatment plant serves thousands of customers throughout the region, both in the city and in several neighboring townships and municipalities.

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Leon E. Hill

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