MILLSBORO — Six weeks and one day past the contract’s deadline, Millsboro’s White Farm elevated water-storage tank has been deemed substantially complete and operational.
Due to the delay, a time-extension request from Millsboro Town Engineer Carrie Kruger drew a 6-0 approval from mayor and council at their Sept. 7 meeting.
“It’s up and got water in it, and it’s operational?” asked Councilman Larry Gum before the vote.
“In service,” said Millsboro Public Works Director Kenny Niblett.
The contractual agreement with Louisville, Kentucky-based Caldwell Tanks Inc. called for substantial completion by July 14. However, “substantial completion was Aug. 26, 2021,” Ms. Kruger said. “What we are looking at now, this is 43 days past what was in the agreement.”
As spelled out in the contract, Caldwell Tanks could have faced monetary penalties of varying amounts per day based on “substantial” or “final” completion dates, Ms. Kruger said at a previous council meeting.
But with the project in the closing stages, town leaders expressed reluctance to play hardball at their Aug. 2 meeting.
Therefore, Ms. Kruger explained the need for the change order.
“Any time there is a time extension, you would have to have a change order because that’s not what’s in the contract,” she said, adding that it’s necessary even though there’s zero cost involved.
As of Sept. 7, there remained a list of minor incomplete items generated by civil engineers at Duffield Associates. That included work on the access road leading to the 1 million-gallon tank, located off Hardscrabble Road, as well as some minor electrical items and fiber-optic testing, Ms. Kruger said.
Work on the access road was addressed at last week’s meeting. Ms. Kruger said the town is withholding $20,000 for the access road and substantial money for some of the other remaining work.
“We don’t really have much of a concern about people walking off the site and not coming back to finish,” she said.
The White Farm tank joins the town’s water system, which includes towers on Irons Avenue and Church Street near the water plant, as well as a temporary water facility at Plantation Lakes and the tower in Dagsboro — currently considered part of Millsboro’s system, according to Mr. Hudson.
With direct interest is the town of Dagsboro, Millsboro’s neighbor to the south, which receives its water supply from Millsboro through a 20-year agreement that runs through December 2022. Dagsboro is preparing to tap into Artesian’s Greater Dagsboro Water Treatment Plant at some point this year. The initial hope was by Sept. 1, the agreed-upon date, Dagsboro Town Administrator Cindi Brought said.
However, earlier this year, Millsboro officials requested that Dagsboro not tap into the Artesian network until the White Farm water tower is operational. That request stemmed from a January meeting of representatives from Millsboro, Dagsboro and Artesian.
Dagsboro is awaiting documented word from Millsboro to begin with the Artesian plant.
“We had Artesian draw up a couple documents just about turning off the interconnection,” said Ms. Brought, noting that Millsboro “didn’t agree with either one of them, even though our council did.”
“We left it in their hands … to come up with a document as to how they’d like it to read, and then, we will go over that at our Sept. 20 meeting, to see whether we agree with it or not. If not, it goes back to them,” she added. “We can’t buy water from Artesian and them. Once we shut that valve off, we’re going to buy from Artesian.”
Currently, Dagsboro pays $5.60 per 1,000 gallons provided by Millsboro. Its rate with Artesian is undetermined, but town officials expect it to be lower.
Once an agreement is reached, Dagsboro will receive its water exclusively from Artesian, except for brief, periodic flushing through the interconnect with Millsboro.
“We’re all set to go. It’s just a matter of us being able to shut down that interconnection at (Millsboro’s) request because they don’t want a drop of Artesian water to get into their system,” said Ms. Brought. “We will open that line, Artesian and Millsboro, once a month. Basically, when we open that line, it will only flow to Dagsboro, … just to keep the pipes fresh and lines fresh. It will run for about 15 minutes. We’ll pay for that water. It won’t be a whole lot of money. But that’s OK. We’ll have a much better rate with Artesian.”
Artesian’s Dagsboro plant on Armory Road will provide an additional 2 million gallons per day to the region, serving the towns of Dagsboro and Frankford, as well as other parts of southeastern Sussex County.