PEACE RIVER REGION, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District recently amended two sewage contracts awarded to McElhanney, an engineering and land surveying firm, in 2021.

On April 15th, 2021, the regional board awarded the $82,215 contract for the North Peace Airport Subdivision wastewater infrastructure upgrades to McElhanney.

The company was to design and develop the scope of work for the upgrades needed after a condition assessment of the subdivision’s sewer system and supervise the construction of those upgrades.

Construction for the repairs began in June 2022, but crews were met with some “unanticipated events” such as excavation slumping (despite the use of shoring), construction material changes, and additional work that revealed itself once the underground infrastructure was unearthed.

In a report, PRRD staff says these events required additional expenses and furthered the timeline of the project.

With the contract set to expire at the end of August and the value of the original contract close to being fully utilized, PRRD moved to extend the contract to October 2022 and provided an additional $15,000 to cover the increased costs and work associated with the project.

The second contract amended at the August 11th meeting was the Rolla sewer treatment facility infrastructure upgrade, which was also awarded to McElhanney on April 15th, 2021, to the tune of $93,379.

In a meeting on September 27th, 2021, the Rural Budgets Administration Committee recommended that the regional board amend the contract at an additional cost of $17,230 after a review by the ministry of environment found that the sewer system was not in compliance with municipal wastewater regulations.

The ministry then informed the PRRD that the Rolla Creek design would need to be modified to bring it into compliance and will require further modelling and analysis to determine if the discharge from the system would have any negative effect on the creek.

“This unexpected requirement has presented a significant risk to the awarded construction contract for crucial repairs to the system as well as a risk of high effluent levels within the lagoon cells with no ability to discharge,” PRRD staff said in a report.

They added that they’ve received no further direction from the ministry.

The August 11th amendment extended the contract to August 2023 at an additional cost of $110,000, bringing the total cost of the project to $220,609.

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Spencer Hall is a news reporter for and a recent graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Radio Arts & Entertainment program. Growing up in Northwest B.C. made Spencer aware of the importance of local journalism, independent media, and reconciliation. In his spare time, you can find Spencer reading, playing video games, or at the FSJ dog park with his dog, Teddy.