Pipeline contractor’s ‘mistake’ troubled some BCWA board members

Executive director stands by contractor, though some board members voted to terminate contract

By Ted Hayes
Posted 10/10/19

The leader of the Bristol County Water Authority said Friday she is “satisfied” that the contractor in charge of repairing the leaky East Bay Pipeline made a simple mistake when including …

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Pipeline contractor’s ‘mistake’ troubled some BCWA board members

Executive director stands by contractor, though some board members voted to terminate contract

Posted

The leader of the Bristol County Water Authority said Friday she is “satisfied” that the contractor in charge of repairing the leaky East Bay Pipeline made a simple mistake when including a false document as part of its bid package in the $3.4 million project. At least one board member sees it differently.

Water authority Executive Director Pam Marchand said Friday that Biszko Contracting’s error — including a draft safety plan in its paperwork to the water authority — “didn’t rise to the level that it appeared it was done deliberately.”

The paperwork error was discovered last month by an engineer working with the water authority, and caused Ms. Marchand to order Biszko to stop work on the project the very day it started.

An emergency meeting of the water authority board of directors followed, at which directors voted 6-3 to allow Biszko to continue working, as long as they agreed to provide an approved safety plan.

Bristol resident Gina MacDonald was one of the three directors to vote against Biszko at that meeting. She wrote last week that her decision was easy:

“I voted to terminate the contract, as I felt this was a deliberate false submittal,” she wrote. “And, if you believed Biszko’s explanation that it was a mistake to submit a ‘draft’ document (with the cut and pasted stamp of the engineer who in fact had NOT approved this safety plan), it indicated a carelessness that could be indicative of sloppy work in the physical repair. We should expect our primary contractor to submit a plan without a ‘forged’ document.”

Ms. Marchand said that regardless of the paperwork issue, she is “satisfied” that Biszko will do a good job on the project.

Work continues

Work on the project started back up late last week. As of Monday morning, workers were preparing approximately 12, 400-foot lengths of PVC tubing on the East Providence side of the pipeline, at the Silver Spring Golf Course.

Concurrently, workers are digging past two sharp angles in the pipeline, located at either end of the line. Once the flat expanse of line is exposed, a “prover” pipe will be pulled through from East Providence to the Providence side. If that goes well, workers will proceed with the installation of the 400-foot lengths, welding them together as they go.

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