MetroRail construction fix could cost $2 million

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by Leigh Frillici/11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 30, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 30 at 7:44 PM

HOUSTON -- The installation of the wrong type of water pipes during the construction of a new light rail could cost taxpayers $2 million, according to a Metro contractor.

The city of Houston said it asked Metro to install better piping in the areas where groundwater contamination is a concern and construction crews were installing the new piping Thursday along Harrisburg.  

“All pipe going forward, we’ve moved to a higher standard of pipe,” said George Greanias, CEO of Metro.
 
Metro said there’s been a lack of clarity in the city of Houston's standards for water pipes and that the issue is being worked on right now with the city of Houston.
 
What’s also being looked at is the PVC piping that was installed and already covered with new concrete.  It’s not clear if the new concrete will have to be ripped up and the PVC pipes replaced.
 
“They'll have to do whatever it takes to replace the pipe,” said Greanias.  “The question is, are the levels at a point that justifies, or requires a change in the pipes that were put in?”
 
Metro wouldn't say how much the new water pipes would cost, but on its own community advisory board meeting action-item list the contractor, Houston Rapid Transit, estimated the cost at $2 million.
 
Metro would not comment on the dollar amount.
 
“Let's see if a there is a bill, how much the bill is, then we'll see who pays for it,” said Greanias.
 
Rachel di Cordova, a resident of the area who chairs the East End Chamber of Commerce Rail subcommittee, said she doesn't mind the extra work going on in the community.
 
“If it was never replaced and we had people drinking that water, contaminated water, possibly benzene, and we had claims down the road, you can't even put a price tag on that,” she said.
 
She said, whatever the bill, it's just a small price to pay for getting the piping right.

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