City of Moose Jaw approves additional dollars for unforeseen changes to water pipeline project

Phase one of Moose Jaw's water pipeline project began in November 2017 and was completed in December 2018. City of Moose Jaw / Submitted

The City of Moose Jaw is allocating dollars in its existing budget to a change order in their water transmission line project.

This project is separate from the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant renewal project, which is in the design stage. That project will be undertaken by the plant with funding coming from all three levels of government.

Read more: Regina city council approves funding for Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant

Moose Jaw city council approved a change order from consulting and engineering firm Stantec so they could gain funding to help them complete the project.

The funding amounts to $162,236.48 plus taxes.

In a letter to city council, Stantec wrote that schedule delays, scope changes, additional work and coordination, submission quality issues and material challenges “have eroded the engineering services budget.”

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At the Feb. 16 meeting, City of Moose Jaw Director of engineering services Bevan Harlton explained to city council that engineering services was not asking for additional budget but asking to “spend money that’s beyond our initial contract with Stantec.”

Mayor Fraser Tolmie voted in favour of funding the change order and thanked the city administration for their work on the project.

“This is what we’re going to be encountering after 30 years of neglect, 50 years of a project that’s overdue. These are the things that we’re going to face and that’s why we always say, do it now, do it early because then these costs don’t come up and creep up and get to you,” Tolmie said.

The pipeline spans 19 kilometres and connects Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant to two reservoirs in Moose Jaw.

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Phase one of the $26.6 million project began in November 2017 and was completed just over a year later in December 2018.

This portion of the project included designing, tendering, and installing the transmission line.

“There was no tie-ins at that time, it was basically just a running in the line from Buffalo Pound to the city here,” Harlton said.

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Phase two started last spring in May 2020 and is expected to be completed by July 2021.

Harlton explained construction involved underground work and connecting the new transmission line on the Buffalo Pound side and tying it to the pump houses there, and then connecting the new transmission line to two of the reservoirs in Moose Jaw.

Four pumps at Buffalo Pound that serve the city of Moose Jaw are also being replaced with associate electrical and instrumentation upgrades.

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Fix to Buffalo Pound water treatment plant years away – Feb 24, 2021

The change order approved by Moose Jaw city council on Feb. 16 is the result of a number of changes that have happened throughout the project.

“Any time you’re taking new infrastructure and tying it into existing facilities and existing infrastructure, you’re going to have some degree of unforeseen things that happen,” Harlton said.

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Harlton further explained that these changes would impact materials and buildings at the water plant as well as the city’s reservoirs.

The city is also working with Stantec over the next several months on what changes they can implement before the completion of replacing the city’s new high service pump house.

“What we’re doing is we’re setting this up for the transmission line to tie into the existing structure. As well as setting up infrastructure in advance of the completion of the pump house and preparing for those tie-ins,” Harlton said.

He added that this may include additional valving, or pipe. Harlton is also aware of additional work needed on a chlorine injector.

Read more: Canadian and Sask. governments invest in southern Sask. drinking water

Stantec wrote in their letter to council that the money they received from the city is at 94 per cent consumption and construction is 67 per cent complete. Harlton explained that Stantec is at 94 per cent consumption of their internal budget, which is what led to the change order.

At council, city manager Jim Puffalt added that just because the city has a budget doesn’t mean they have to spend it if they don’t have to.

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“We take great pride in coming in under budget, as you’ve seen from our financials last year — if there’s a way to save that money, we’ll find a way to save it,” Puffalt said. “We don’t bring these just because there’s a budget left.”

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