Eastpointe City Council OKs sanitary sewer cleaning cost increase

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 2, 2023

Shutterstock image


EASTPOINTE — Two years ago, in 2021, the city of Eastpointe began a citywide sanitary sewer cleaning and television investigation program that would take two and a half years to complete.

About 85% of the city’s sanitary system has been cleaned and televised under the program. However, it was recently revealed that the project will cost $245,000 more than anticipated.

At the Sept. 19 Eastpointe City Council meeting, the council voted 4-1 to approve contract modification No. 1 to the Sanitary Sewer Cleaning and Closed Circuit Television Investigation, through Doetsch Industrial Services, based in Warren, for the amount of $170,000, increasing the total construction cost of the project to $1,432,625.

The vote also approved spending an additional $75,000 for construction administration and observation services necessary to complete the project. Council member Cardi DeMonaco Jr. questioned the additional cost and voted against the measure.

“It seems like that’s much higher than the rate we’d be charged for the rest of the project,” he said. “We’ve already started this project. It’s a slight addition and this is like 40-something percent on the extra work. We should be paying the 11.5% (for construction administration and observation services) we always pay, roughly, on a public works project. I don’t know why we’d be paying four times the price for this part of the project than we’d be paying for the rest of it.”

At the meeting, Ryan Kern, senior project engineer with Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick Inc., based in Shelby Township, spoke about the increase.

“It’s a 2 1/2-year-long project, so we’re providing a full-time inspector out on the site to make sure everything is cleaned and televised properly. There’s been a lot more heavy cleaning involved with this project than what was anticipated,” Kern said.

The heavy cleaning increase has resulted in more hours for the full-time construction observation services on-site.

The cleaning program allows the city to identify locations of defective sewer to be able to prioritize repairs based upon available water and sewer funding and potential grant opportunities. According to city documents, 85% of the city has been completed. An area between Stephens and 10 Mile roads east of Gratiot Avenue still needs to be completed.

“We anticipated 25% of the sewer system would require heavy cleaning, and it’s more so about 40% to 50% of the system that required heavy cleaning. That’s why there’s a higher cost to this. We also review the video and make recommendations for future sewer rehab and put together a comprehensive master plan for future sewer repairs and rehabilitation,” Kern said. “There really hasn’t been a comprehensive citywide sewer cleaning and televising program. It’s just been parts here and there throughout the years.”

According to Kern, the original estimate included a 10% contingency into the project, but the previous public works director did not want the contingency in the award.

“That’s part of why this increase is coming in front of you,” Kern said.

Council member Stacy Cobb-Muñiz asked what the alternative was if the increase wasn’t approved. If the agenda item wasn’t approved, the project would not be completed.

“If we do not complete the project, that opens us up for liability for sewer backups if we have not cleaned and televised the whole system,” Finance Director Randall Blum said. “So if anything happened in the area that was not completed, we would have an issue. It’s imperative that we get it done.”