April 10, 2013 —
The Olive Hill City Council held a special work session Tuesday night to discuss issues with the water backwash filtration system and the city’s electric rate ordinance.
Representatives from E.L. Robinson Engineering, Inc. were on hand at the meeting to discuss the city’s concerns regarding the design of the system at the water plant - a design that the Mayor and Council members felt was not representative of their needs.
“We presented the plans for the system we needed to the engineer, but he designed his own system instead,” said Jerry Callihan.
On numerous occasions, Callihan had engaged in heated discussion with Paul Amburgey, the engineer who designed the filtration system, regarding its material weaknesses and ultimate inability to handle the capacity of water flow required to serve Olive Hill’s customers.
“He screwed it up, plain and simple,” Callihan added.
Amburgey was not on hand at the meeting, but Ray Tilley, Director of Operations for the Beckley branch of the company, did specifically respond to comments regarding previous work.
“We admit that mistakes were made. We’re here because we want to come to a quick solution that’s in line with what you want,” Tilley said.
According to Tilley’s estimate, construction costs to implement the revised plans would carry an estimated price tag of $125,000, with an additional cost of $45,000 to replace the existing filter media.
At that point, the tension in the meeting became more palatable at the two sides expressed different opinions concerning who would be responsible for those costs.
Tilley proposed that his firm would be willing to incur the cost of replacing the filter media if the city would take on the burden of funding the contract work.
Council, however, felt differently about the matter.
“I can’t think of another service industry where the customer would be responsible for paying the costs to fix an error that they didn’t cause,” said Angie Johnson Fultz.