Unstable ground and unexpected utility lines made construction of a Spokane storage center for hazardous wastes more difficult and expensive than expected.
The Spokane City Council today will consider spending an additional $70,212 on the center. That’s a 33 percent increase over the original $209,369 contract with Coyote Corporation of Spokane.
Last spring, crews began work on the storage facility next to the waste-to-energy incinerator.
The crews found “unsuitable materials” while excavating the site, requiring them to dig 2 feet deeper to find stable ground for the building, said Damon Taam, director of the Regional Solid Waste System. “While we were doing the extra digging, we hit utilities.”
The water and communications lines weren’t shown in the draft site plans given to the city by Clark Kenneth Inc., the construction company that built the $110 million incinerator.
The company went bankrupt during construction, and never gave the city any final plans, Taam said. “We’re finding more and more the drawings that were provided weren’t acceptable … Every so often, we find things not where they’re supposed to be.”
During a council briefing two weeks ago, Taam detailed the contract amendment for the storage center. At the time, council members Roberta Greene and Cherie Rodgers - both members of the Solid Waste Liaison Board - expressed concerns they hadn’t heard about the construction problems before then.
“That was the first we heard about it,” Rodgers said later.
Taam said it was mentioned, but in a “different tone, more as a progress report. We talked about how, ‘The bad news is we hit a 2-inch water line, the good news is we missed an 8-inch water line …’ We didn’t have money totals.”
The 2,000-square-foot, steel and concrete storage center will be used as a holding site for hazardous wastes such as acids, poisons and oils so that large quantities can be collected for transport to disposal sites across the country.
Money for the center will be split between the state and ratepayers.
During the regular Monday night meeting, the council will consider adding three full-time employees to the city staff.
Two of the new jobs go to the police department, including a public relations position.
In January, the Civil Service Commission ruled the department must replace a contracted media consultant with a full-time city employee.
The department also plans to add a data processor to keep up with an increased workload in police records, said City Manager Bill Pupo. The cost of that position will be split with the county.
The city also is hiring an additional planner, whose salary will be paid for with state money for Growth Management Act planning.
The new positions come just a week after the council voted to reinstate the voluntary severance program aimed at downsizing City Hall.
“We’re diligently keeping personnel counts to where we need to keep them,” Pupo said.
The council also will recognize a new neighborhood council for the Bemiss area in Hillyard.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: COUNCIL MEETING A briefing for the council begins at 3:30 p.m. in the lower-level conference room of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.