Vol. 20,  No. 9 May 3 - 16, 2007


Filter Fines Pile Up on City
Ratepayers Will Foot the Bill


By next week, the city will owe the federal government over $1.5 million in fines because it has failed to award the contract for building the water filtration plant in the giant hole in Van Cortlandt Park.

The New York Post first reported that the fines began Feb. 8 at $11,000 a day and will go up to $30,000 a day on May 9, at which point the city will be forced to fork over a total of $1,560,000. The city is under a federal mandate to build the plant according to a detailed schedule.

As the Norwood News reported in the previous issue, the lowest bidder, a consortium of three larger firms — Perini, Tutor-Siliba and O & G — pulled out of negotiations with the city following six months of negotiations.

Steven Lawitts, the Department of Environmental Protection’s first deputy commissioner, said, after last week’s Water Board meeting (see editorial on p. 8) that it was the “biggest construction contract the city has awarded ever,” and that the city and the Perini consortium were “unable to agree on a set of terms.”

Lawitts predicted that, despite the setback, construction would begin this summer.
Asked if water rate payers would foot the bill for the fines, a DEP spokesman said, “Yes.”

Greg Faulkner, the head of the Croton Facility Monitoring Committee, an advisory group that has tried to hold the DEP’s feet to the fire on a number of issues, said the agency has a lot of questions to answer at the next committee meeting on May 17.

Faulkner, who found out about the failed contract talks in the Post, said he especially wants to know why the committee wasn’t apprised of the deteriorating negotiations. “They knew things were going bad,” he said. “They should have told us about it.”

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