Leader Blues

Friday, April 18, 2008

TOP STORY > >Cabot approves sewer contract

Leader staff writer

Over the objections of Mayor Eddie Joe Williams, the Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission Wednesday night awarded a Little Rock company a $1.5 million contract for a 36-inch diameter sewer line that will extend from the new treatment plant off Kerr Station Road to Locust Street in the downtown area.

The pipe will replace an eight-inch concrete pipe that has crumbled over time and allows rainwater to get into the sewer system.

Williams attended the meeting to voice his concern that the commission was awarding the contract to a company that did substandard work on a street in the Kensington subdivision now being built inside Greystone. The mayor, however, has no authority over Cabot’s independent water and wastewater commission.

The special meeting of the commission was called to allow Williams and Mike Persons, owner of Kajacs Construction, to address that issue.

The mayor said he was in the subdivision and overheard a truck driver for Rogers Group, the subcontractor laying the asphalt say to another driver, “You’re not going to believe this, but they’re pouring asphalt over mud.”

Kajacs Construction had the contract to lay the streets but had subcontracted the work, Persons said, and asked subcontractor Jeff Smith to explain what had happened.

Smith said that although he could provide documentation that the street had passed compaction tests, when the asphalt trucks started rolling over them, water started coming up.

After the city ordered the paving stopped, the street was ripped out and more drains were added. And it is now ready to be paved again, Smith said.

Persons said his son was part owner in the subdivision and he did the work to help him. Persons told the mayor that his son decided last summer when it was dry that part of the drains could be left out to save money.

“He didn’t consider what would happen with winter rain,” Persons said, adding, “He has a lot to learn.”

Kajacs Construction’s $1.5 million bid was the lowest of five the commission received. The next lowest, $1.6 million, came from S&J Construction of Jacksonville.

Bill Cypert, commission secretary, said in awarding the contract, all the commission had to consider was whether the company would be able to complete the project.

Persons assured the mayor and commission that his company does good work and that they have worked on jobs much larger than the sewer line in Cabot.

“We really try to do a good job and most engineers will tell you we stay longer than we need to to get it done,” he said.

The project will be engineered and overseen by Crist Engineering of Little Rock.

The project will be built with the same bond money that built the $15 million sewer plant that went into operation in December. Tim Joyner, general manager of Cabot WaterWorks, said the city is now inspecting smaller lines in the older part of town to determine which ones will be replaced with the remaining $1 million in bond money.

Joyner said the hope is that 20 percent of the city’s infiltration problems will be remedied by replacing the worst small lines in the collection system and by replacing the eight-inch main line with one 36-inch main.