MID leaders closer to settling lawsuit over water plant expansion

gstapley@modbee.comMarch 26, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textGarth Stapley
    Title: Reporter
    Coverage areas: Regional water, growth, land-use and transportation; civil law, real estate fraud and special projects
    Bio: In his 19 years with The Bee, Garth Stapley has focused on city and county government
    E-mail: gstapley@modbee.com

— A multimillion-dollar lawsuit over botched construction of a water treatment plant expansion moved closer to resolution Tuesday morning as Modesto Irrigation District leaders agreed to undisclosed settlement terms.

Modesto City Council members were scheduled Tuesday evening to review the case as well behind closed doors, but did not announce a decision.

A dispute between the city and the irrigation district continues, however, over how much each agency will pay to finish the huge project.

The local partners sued a master contractor and the plant designer after finding serious defects. Terms of the settlement require that the firms and subcontractors fork over big money, but it's not enough to cover the entire cost, MID General Counsel Joy Warren said Tuesday.

By 2009, the project was supposed to double the 40 million gallons of tap water provided daily to Modesto water customers, but delays will push completion to mid-2015, Warren said. At one point, district officials said flaws could add as much as $27 million to the $63 million expansion.

The district on Tuesday approved a $6 million contract to demolish and replace filter basins. Additional valve work and pipe supports will be required later.

Councilman Dave Geer said after the MID's morning meeting that he is optimistic that the partners will work out something on remaining costs. The dispute will not affect resumption of work in April, Warren said.

Bee staff writer John Holland contributed to this report.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee.com or (209) 578-2390.

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