BWSD board denies payment of bill involving water pump problems
by Gary Kent
Jun 21, 2013 | 1944 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – Members of the Beeville Water Supply District voted Monday evening to pay a bill from Payton Construction Co. of Wimberley but to deny a payment to a Layne Christensen Co.

BWSD Board President Jim Crumrine praised the work done by the Payton crew that was rehabilitating filtering media at the George P. Morrill, I Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch.

Crumrine told fellow board members that Payton’s employees dropped what they were doing and tackled a pump problem at the district’s raw water intake structure at the Nueces River near the treatment plant.

“Payton moved heaven and earth to fix the problem when the city was almost out of water,” Crumrine said.

The company had sent the district two invoices and had asked for a total payment of $22,189.

“These people went above and beyond on a Christmas holiday and didn’t charge us anything,” Crumrine said.

However, the board president was not as kind to the company that provided the pumps Payton employees installed.

The four pumps provided by Layne Christensen started causing problems not long after they were installed.

At a water board meeting three months ago, Jim Urban of Urban Engineering told the board that the replacement pumps provided by Layne started failing just weeks after they were on line.

Urban told board members that the three pumps that had been there before the Layne pumps were installed had performed without problems for decades before they were replaced.

Crumrine said when the city contacted Layne, the company’s representatives denied that their pumps had been responsible for the problems. He said it was not until the city contacted someone higher up the chain of command at Layne that the company finally admitted that the problem had been in its pumps.

Layne was asking for the city to pay a bill for $24,238. But Urban had recommended at an earlier meeting that the city withhold that payment.

Crumrine told board members he did not want to see that bill paid unless the construction company was forced to pay it.

Then, he said, the city could work out something with Payton. However, he agreed with the engineers that the district should not pay the bill.

Crumrine also said he anticipated that Layne might take some kind of legal action to recover the amount they say the district owes.

Board member Bill Stockton expressed concern over Crumrine’s recommendation, saying he had reservations about refusing to pay a bill.

However, board member Kay Hickey agreed with Crumrine and made a motion that the district not pay that bill. Board member Donald “Buddy” Hardy seconded the motion, and it passed with new board member Kenneth Elsbury abstaining.

Just before that motion was made, Stockton had made a motion to pay the Payton bill, and Hardy seconded that motion as well. It passed without opposition.

In other business Monday, the board voted to:

— Accept the resignation from the board of George P. “Trace” Morrill, III and appoint Elsbury to replace him.

Morrill had to resign because he was elected to the City Council on May 11.

— Pay Mercer Controls of Edna $47,475 for work performed by that company and to enter into an extended maintenance contract for $417 a month after the variable frequency drive equipment his company installed is a year old.

Mercer said the equipment has reduced the city’s electric bill by about 50 percent when compared to what it was paying before the equipment was installed.

— Accept a report from Stephen Grunewald of Urban Engineering regarding projects funded by a recent bond sale by the district.

Grunewald said about half the projects funded by the bond sale had been completed and the district still has about half of its bond proceeds in the bank.

He said that the replacement of the filtering media at the Morrill plant had benefited the plant operation at the level the engineers had predicted and the quality of water being pumped to Beeville was considerably improved.

Grunewald also said that installing new pumps at the raw water intake structure had improved the city’s water pumping capability to the point that it could send 7.2 million gallons of water a day to Beeville at periods of peak demand.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at
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