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FPUD approves final change orders for CUP

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Fallbrook Public Utility District board approved the final change orders for the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project.

The 4-0 vote May 23, with Dave Baxter absent due to business travel, approved a $758,582 change order to the Filanc Alberici construction contract and a $95,015 change order to the construction oversight contract with Terrapin Group.

“This is the final change order to close out all the construction costs,” said FPUD senior engineer Aaron Cook.

The SMRCUP will enhance groundwater recharge and recovery capability within the lower Santa Margarita River basin and increase available water supplies for FPUD and Camp Pendleton. The Camp Pendleton infrastructure includes piping to deliver the water to the boundary of the Naval Weapons Station and Fallbrook behind the FPUD solar facility site on Alturas Road. Construction of the facilities from the NWS boundary was FPUD's responsibility.

The water will be treated at the Alturas Road plant and delivered into FPUD's distribution system. FPUD's infrastructure includes a groundwater treatment plant, a distribution system to the Gheen Zone east of Stage Coach Lane, the Gheen Pump Station and a storage tank with piping, and construction management and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) integration.

In July 2018, the FPUD board approved a $1,853,740 construction management services contract with Terrapin Group, which is headed by Franz Schauer, to handle day-to-day oversight of the general contractor. In July 2019, the FPUD board awarded Filanc Alberici JV a $54,398,232 construction contract for the Conjunctive Use Project.

A January 2020 board action amended the design contract with Infrastructure Engineering Corporation so that the groundwater treatment plant can also remove per and polyfluoroalkyl substances contaminants with a combination of granular activated carbon and reverse osmosis.

The December 2020 FPUD board meeting included approving a contract with Calgon Carbon to provide granular activated carbon treatment system equipment and approving a change order to the contract with Filanc Alberici JV to install pipelines associated with the granular activated carbon treatment system.

That change order with Filanc Alberici addressed only the pipelines and not the installation and startup of the granular activated carbon treatment system and, during the February 2021 board meeting, FPUD approved the change order for the installation and for pipeline alignment changes required by field conditions and utility conflicts.

The original contract stipulated an October 2021 completion date, but the granular activated carbon treatment delayed substantial completion of the original scope of work until November 2021. The treatment plant began delivering water in December 2021 while work on the GAC treatment system continued, and the GAC work was substantially completed in March 2022.

The delay in completing the project led to additional overhead as well as construction costs, which necessitated the final change order. “A portion of this is related to the GAC facilities,” Cook said.

The change order brings the total construction contract amount to $59,105,832 while the change order to the Terrapin Group management contract, which originally expired in November 2021, brings the total amount to $1,948,755.

The State Water Resources Control Board has a State Revolving Fund loan program which provides water agencies with low-interest loans. In January 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board approved a loan of $62,935,885 for the Conjunctive Use Project which included a contingency of $5,440,000 as well as the construction, design, and construction management costs.

The loan agreement was amended in November 2021 to include the GAC facility costs and included a $3,440,000 contingency for potential change orders. “We’re only going to use just barely over $1 million of that,” Cook said.

The San Diego County Water Authority has filed multiple rate lawsuits against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and has been awarded legal damages and interest payments. (The lawsuits involve the rate MWD has been charging the SDCWA to transport water obtained from Imperial County in the Quantification Settlement Agreement. MWD had been charging a Water Stewardship Rate, and the courts ruled that that rate should not have been charged for QSA deliveries.)

The CWA refunds the lawsuit awards to its member agencies for those agencies’ share of the settlement based on the agency's percentage of total municipal and industrial purchases during those years. Each CWA member agency can choose how to use the money and, on Jan. 24, the FPUD board voted to use the refund to reduce FPUD’s loan amount for the Conjunctive Use Project. “The loan balance reflects the use of those funds to cover some of the project costs,” Cook said.

Currently $1,534,663 of the settlement funding has been applied to Conjunctive Use Project costs.


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