Archived Story

DSS consultant makes first site visit

Published 7:50pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flush system for sewer fix not recommended

by Leah Justice
The Polk County Board of Commissioners heard from MBP Carolinas Inc. this month after the firm’s first site visit to the department of social service (DSS) building.
Commissioners met Oct. 21 and reviewed an email that detailed some of the engineers’ concerns with the building’s HVAC system and a recommendation that a section of the sewer line be replaced instead of an earlier proposed to fix sewage issues in the building with a flush system.
Commissioner Keith Holbert brought up the firm’s initial inspection saying he feels it’s appropriate for residents to be up to date on the building’s progress.
The county hired MBP in August after deciding it needed an independent specialist to advise the county on how to properly fix issues at the building and also to potentially be used as an expert witness if the county later decides to sue to recoup damages.
Polk County constructed the DSS building in 2011 with issues discovered, including that the HVAC system is not working properly, the building was not sealed properly and plumbing issues because the sewer line doesn’t have the correct fall.
The DSS office moved in the building, located in Mill Spring in December 2011.
“During our site visit of the DSS building and inspection of the HVAC system, we did note several items of concern to us,” states the MBP’s email to interim county manager Marche Pittman. “There was excessive duct leakage, the quality of the installation was not of the standard we anticipated, and the duct static pressure sensor was installed in a location that could impede system air balance. We will address these in more detail once we have had the opportunity to review more complete project records.”
On sewage backup issues, the engineer said installing a flush system where a pump would cycle on and off at a set time to keep the sewage line clear isn’t the best plan.
“We would recommend against this as a permanent fix,” stated MBP Carolinas. “In our opinion the county has paid for a system to be installed according to the drawings and specifications, and the installed system does not satisfy this requirement. For the county to accept a flush system as a fix would be adding an additional maintenance burden and additional costs that should not be necessary. It is our recommendation that the section of sewer line in question be removed and replaced. Obtaining access to the sewer line in this area will also allow a more detailed inspection of the sewer line to help ensure that there are not any other issues with the line that need correcting.”
Pittman told commissioners MBP Carolinas received their final documents and blue prints and he expects it will be two to three weeks before they make a recommendation to the county.
“The email was just to let us know they were evaluating our concerns,” said Pittman.
Polk County has approximately $140,000 left in the DSS project budget from its loan proceeds to pay the consulting engineers. The county obtained a $1.8 million loan to construct the building.

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