Los Osos sewer project needs another $6 million

June 12, 2013
Tom Salmon

Tom Salmon

OPINION By TOM SALMON

Less than a year into the Los Osos Wastewater Project construction we are beginning to see the change orders we expected all along. A week ago, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors began the trend, approving a $200,000 amendment to a biological monitoring contract to avoid the threatened shoulderband snail.

Next week, over $5 million will be approved to amend contracts with the engineering and construction management firms. These firms have already raked in over $13 million on contracts signed in late 2011 are ready to re-up for duration of the project. One might ask why their original contracts weren’t penned that way to begin with. As predicted the low bid firm takes a calculated risk, knowing it will be made up in change orders and contract amendments.

Each of these firms has burned through their agreed upon prices and their time schedules. With more snails encountered; more laterals needing redesign, a sewer plant still in design phase and the Giacommazzi site yet to be purchased.

Cost overruns will be commonplace. The irony is, not one of the three contract amendments mentioned above puts pipe in the ground. For a “shovel ready project” more pencils than shovels are at work.

The additional $6 million will be $1,428 per household. This just the first large change order, when the design is finished, plant on line we could expect nearly a 20 percent increase.

Tom Salmon, is a longtime Los Osos resident with 35 years of expertise in statewide public infrastructure.

 


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15 Comments

  1. Boomer5 says:

    So you cannot drive over or dig up the plants he lives in or disturb him with construction but you can buy snail poison at Minors hardware and spread it over your yard and garden killing them? They are all over the place eating plants.

    (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
  2. Niles Q says:

    Man how do I get one of those contracts? $200K to watch out for snails? I’m in the wrong business. I knew I should have paid attention in biology class. Maybe then I could have become a highly paid environmental monitor and make a small fortune walking in front of an excavator catching snails.
    This all goes back ot what I’ve said for years, California is one f-ed up state. We’ve passed law after law after law trying to make our state perfect.
    All these laws weave together and overlap eachother and form into a blanket that is now smothering us.
    As for Los Osos, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. They’re trying to retrofit a collection system into a town of 14,000+ people. I would expect this is just the first round of change orders. The county really has no choice but to approve them. They can’t risk the contractors going belly up in the middle of this monstrocity.
    What’s called for is for the Congresswoman in Washington to come through with a huge grant, say $75 million, to lower the costs for this. But Ms. Capps isn’t exactly carrying the juice in DC to pull that off, despite her being a 7-term Congresswoman.

    (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
    • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

      A Democrat has no juice in a Republican led house. AND no one on the scale of Los Osos, flip/flopper that it is (we want a sewer—no wait, we don’t want a sewer) is getting $75 to do anything. We were lucky to get the diminished SRF loan that we did (remember that $134 million SRF loan the last time we tried this?). The chance to lower the costs was lost in the 80s and that sort of money is not coming back.

      The sewer we are getting is not a monstrosity, but the normal type of infrastructure to service a town of 14,200 people who are living tightly together.

      The snails were brought into the mix to help squash building a project long, long ago. So far it has worked pretty well to squash just about everything else too. One more crazy angle to the history of the Los Osos sewer.

      (2) 16 Total Votes - 9 up - 7 down
  3. wolfhound says:

    .Early estimates of this type of large public projects are often ‘deliberate misrepresentation’s, which is a polite way of saying ‘lying’.

    Underestimation for large public projects has not decreased during the past 70 years.

    Promoters routinely ignore, hide, or otherwise leave out important information of project costs and risks in order to make total costs appear low, as we are seeing today in Los Osos.

    The primary concern of the promoter is keeping the program viable & funded as long as possible.

    It was found with overwhelming statistical significance that cost underestimation cannot be explained by error. It is best explained by strategic misrepresentation, namely lying, with a view to getting projects started.

    Cost overruns of 50% to 100% in real terms are common.

    Cost estimates being lower than estimated are 14%.

    Promoters routinely ignore, hide, or otherwise leave out important projects costs and risk in order to make total costs ‘appear ‘ low.

    Accuracy is gained at each successive stage of progress, so stay tuned.

    Read the book “Megaprojects and Risk” by Bent Flyujerg and be enlightened.

    (-5) 11 Total Votes - 3 up - 8 down
  4. Maxfusion says:

    Whaaaa ha ha ha whaaaaa ha ha ha, the enviro-scam continues. Two hundred grand to avoid a snail. P.T. Barnum was correct. Keep punching that democrat ticket goober heads.

    (20) 28 Total Votes - 24 up - 4 down
    • ososkid says:

      Goober heads? Well at least you are capable of expressing more schadenfreude than you are class, sophistication, or a well thought out comment. I’m guessing you spend a lot of time eating paint chips, and lighting farts.

      (-10) 22 Total Votes - 6 up - 16 down
      • Maxfusion says:

        I receive no pleasure from the misfortunes of others, but that said, I can only marvel when it’s self imposed. Yes Goober heads, for what else can describe an electorate that continues to vote for policies that are self-destructive, and nonsensical? Hmmmm Oh and speaking of “thought out” comments, would you care to elaborate on your fascination with fire and flatulence?

        (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          “what else can describe an electorate that continues to vote for policies that are self-destructive, and nonsensical?” How about ANY voter who relies on ANY single political philosophy/propaganda for their views?

          The “liberal” electorate of this state is not more nonsensical than the “conservative” electorate of, say, South Carolina. Too often, the choices are between the lesser of 2 evils with no reasonable/electable alternatives to those that are aligned with one of the main political parties. So to put the blame solely on one side just shows that you are equally snowed by the propaganda from the other.

          (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  5. TaxMeAgain says:

    http://www.videouniversity.com/files/changeorderbetter.jpg

    (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
  6. Mr. Holly says:

    RAPE!

    (4) 16 Total Votes - 10 up - 6 down
  7. Pelican1 says:

    Isn’t that equal to the amount of the first installment of the forfeited SRF loan that the CSD never used for the TRI-W project?
    Collect the money from those who had a hand in that mess.

    (13) 17 Total Votes - 15 up - 2 down
  8. easymoney says:

    Anyone surprised by this?

    (20) 22 Total Votes - 21 up - 1 down
    • Robert1 says:

      Say it ain’t so?? You mean they can not actually build the project for the bid???
      Wait until Guberner Brown gets the bullet train built for a gazillion dollars.

      (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
      • SLOBIRD says:

        And Diane Feinstein’s hubby just won the bid, but Miss Diane says there is no conflict of interest because they don’t discuss business. Obviously no demorat in Washington is talking to anyone these days because no one seems to know anything!

        (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down

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