RUSS sues Warner Engineering over sewer project in Argyle
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) is taking someone new to court.
In Wednesday’s board meeting, RUSS executive director Bruce Hudson informed the board that RUSS has filed a suit against Warner Engineering Associates Inc. of Mt. Pleasant regarding the sewer system they built in Argyle in November of 2009.
“Last week a suit was filed against Warner Associates and we have begun the process of suing them for the damages that RUSS and Argyle has incurred through this project,” said Hudson. “It was filed last week and we will start working through that process.”
According to Hudson, Warner Engineering Associates Inc. was in charge of the engineering and inspecting of the Argyle system.
The inspection reports, according to Hudson, state that there are several problems with the system, including sewage being dumped on sand filters, pumps being started on the units before they were ready, splitter box plugging due to being installed incorrectly and an undersized system.
“We tried to negotiate and be amicable about things,” said Hudson, “and there was some movement on their end, but it wasn’t nearly enough.”
This newest suit comes in the midst of RUSS being in mediation with the City of Mt. Union as well as arbitration proceedings to be held in December to determine if Mahaska County and Wapello can leave the organization.
“One of the things we will have to consider here in the near future is what do we do in the interim, knowing that this system has to be rehabbed?” asked Hudson. “Do we take out a loan to do that? With the arbitration going on between Mahaska and Wapello it could be difficult to do that. Under our 28E agreement all entities have to agree to that.”
Hudson then informed the board that there was a possibility of getting the money elsewhere for the project.
“When the initial project was done, the county approved $700,000 worth of bonds for that system which was never close to being met,” said Hudson. “We don’t know if that would be subject to that or if this would have to be a new loan.
“Obviously we aren’t going to start construction this year,” continued Hudson. “If we can get everything else in place, we can get through the bid-letting process this winter near spring and then potentially start on it next spring, but there will have to be some decisions we make as we move forward.”
The discussion was then halted and it was recommended by Ernie Schiller of Lee County to continue the discussion in the next meeting during closed session to answer any questions the supervisors might have.
The board also:
• Approved the treasurers report.
• Discussed request for Keokuk County to gravel and shape a section on 270th street to be able to access a driveway for the lagoon site.
The board will meet again on Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. in the Henry County Emergency Management building.