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Glendale completes Diederich Reservoir upgrade

Delays due to modifications and design issues add cost to water infrastructure project.

December 20, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • Local residents' shadows can be seen on the concrete wall of the Diederich Reservoir during a rare tour of the underground reservoir earlier this year. Glendale recently finished upgrading the reservoir.
Local residents' shadows can be seen on the concrete… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Glendale has finished upgrading its largest reservoir after getting ensnared by extra bills and a legal settlement.

The city spent $4.9 million on improving Diederich Reservoir, about $600,000 more than originally planned, due to several unexpected modifications to the project. And last week, officials agreed to a $300,000 settlement with the construction company that did the work.

The extra costs come as Glendale Water & Power endures a strict spending diet brought on by thin operating margins. But General Manager Steve Zurn said the project cost increases were still manageable.

“There are some unforeseen things that come with a project like this,” Zurn said.

Glendale residents use about 28 million gallons of water per day, with about half flowing through the 57.5-million gallon Diederich Reservoir in North Glendale. Part of the improvements included fixing a nearly 60-year-old concrete pipe that brings water to the reservoir. A massive pipe failure could leave about half the city’s homes without water.

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When the project was first introduced to the City Council, the estimate was about $1 million less than the original $4.3 million construction contract. But as officials discovered there would be more complications, the costs increased.

The project began in February 2011 and didn’t wrap up until August 2012, but there is still some minor work to complete connected to the city’s final review of the project.

There were problems with existing infrastructure in the ground from other agencies, the impact of the dirt that covers the concrete chamber and more valves, pipe cutting and welding than originally expected.

Design issues also contributed to the delays. The general contractor claimed the city owed $600,000 for the delays in December.

Last week, officials announced the city would pay $300,000 to Vido Artukovich & Sons to settle the claim, the same day the City Council approved a $183,000 change order for the project.

According to the contractor settlement, Vido Artukovich & Sons agreed to cooperate in potential legal action brought by Glendale against the design consultant, but City Atty. Mike Garcia said in an interview this week that the city was still reviewing its options.

“It’s still an open issue,” Garcia said.

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