Indiana law requires homeowners to call utility companies at least 48 hours in advance before doing any digging on their property. That 48 hours may be crucial to determining whether the city of Warsaw should pay a contractor’s $24,000 bill.
The issue at hand is a bill from EBI Drilling Inc. for the sum of $31,812.38, a price that engineers Jones & Henry say the city should not have to pay because terms of a contract were not met. The contract was for replacing sewage force mains at the Center Street pump station that began in March 2012 and was completed last year.
The matter was brought before the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety this morning where Brian Davison, utility manager for the Wastewater Treatment Plant, said EBI failed to notify the city 48 hours prior to arriving on scene to begin drilling for new force mains. The required time was noted in the contract.
Ed Foss of All Star Construction & Excavating Inc., and his attorney, Robert Vegeler, attended this morning’s meeting to discuss the disputed bill. The men claim the original main could not be located by the engineer’s blueprints and EBI crews, along with city employees, worked for approximately a half day to find the line. Davison said the contractor agreed to deduct $7,000 for city employees who helped to try and locate the main, but said EBI still failed to provide the city with a 48 hour notice of when they would be on site to begin drilling.
In the end, the original force main could not be located so the city had to obtain an additional easement to drill for a new line, but Davison said had the city been given the 48 hour notice, all of that could have been completed. “We did all of that in less than 48 hours,” he noted.
It was noted that the EBI crew was ordered by the city to stop all work the day they arrived to save the city the $15,000 per day fee.
At the request of city attorney Mike Valentine, a decision on the remaining $24,000 was tabled. However, mayor Joe Thallemer said it seemed that some sort of agreement to satisfy both parties could be reached.
B.O.W. member Jeff Grose added, “It seems EBI was trying to be a good neighbor in helping to try and find the main and wants some sort of compensation for that.”