Town Council approves $620K bonding resolution

By Kait Shea

An underground storage tank removal and replacement project was once again a hot topic at Monday’s Town Council meeting. Ultimately, the body approved a resolution to bond $620,000 for the project.

At the Nov. 24 Town Council meeting, Director of Public Works Chris Nowacki explained to the body that his department has been working on project proposals with Fuss & O’Neill, a civil and environmental engineering consulting firm, for several months. Together, the groups have evaluated conditions, completed testings to verify materials in the ground around the storage tanks, inspected monitoring systems, produced a summary, and completed Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) notifications, Nowacki said. Based on project analyses, it is believed the town is now prepared to take on the project — a five-year, all-inclusive removal plan that involves the elimination of 11 underground storage tanks, he said. The project has come to the forefront, Nowacki added, because a number of underground storage tanks (USTs) in town are reaching the end of their 30-year life expectancy.

Following discussions with Nowacki and a presentation made by Fuss & O’Neill at the Nov. 24 meeting, Town Council members had a number of questions, which prompted a subcommittee — including both Town Council and Board of Finance members — to delve further into the specifics of the project, which is a state contract.

At Monday’s meeting, Town Council member Kevin Reid, who serves on the subcommittee, said the group requested clarification on key issues, including the project’s contingency rate and the lack of a bidding process before Fuss & O’Neill was selected as the contractor.

According to Reid, Fuss & O’Neill conducted a pressure test on the underground storage tanks. Results showed that the tanks had not lost pressure, thereby indicating a low probability of discovering soil contamination during the course of the project. Accordingly, Reid said, the subcommittee set a 30% contingency rate — or about $166,000 — for backup funds in the event that the project required further work from the contractor.

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