Council sues over ‘deteriorating’ treatment plant
A Queensland council has lodged a multimillion-dollar damages claim against the business that designed and built its water treatment plant, claiming the facility needs $7.6 million of rectification works to fix issues including corrosion and deterioration.
The South Burnett Regional Council has lodged the damages suit against Aquatec Maxcon Pty Ltd, which describes itself as "the leading provider of water and wastewater treatment technology and equipment in Australia".
According to court documents filed in the Supreme Court, the council enlisted Aquatec to design and construct the Gordonbrook Water Treatment Plant at Kingaroy in 2014 and the facility reached practical completion in mid-2016.
But it's alleged the plant suffers from a number of issues including corroding steel structures, insufficient welding work and deteriorating water pumps.
The council claims it has suffered loss and damage and that the plant requires about $7.6 million of rectification work "to attain compliance with the contract".
This includes $2.6 million for rectification of the stainless pipework, $2 million for the management, supervisory and plant shutdown costs to complete the work and $1.9 million for the ongoing inspection, maintenance and repair of the stainless steel structures.
Aquatec Maxcon makes reference to the "award-winning" treatment plant on its website saying the "significance of the project could not be overstated with the operating costs now 45 per cent less than a plant using conventional technology".
It says the $25 million plant was built "on time and within budget" and won a gong at the 2016 Engineering Excellence Awards.
The company is yet to file a defence after the council lodged its claim on October 21.
The council alleges that stainless steel structures within the plant should have had a minimum design service life of 30 years but were not "fit for purpose" and have "corroded and deteriorated".
"In the premises, Aquatec breached … (a clause of the contract) in failing to carry out and complete the design construction of the stainless steel structures with the degree of skill, diligence, prudence and foresight which would ordinarily be expected from a skilled and experienced contractor …," court documents claim.
The council also claims the welding work on the project suffered from issues including poor quality, leaking welds, inadequate fusion, heat tints and inconsistent sized and shaped welds.
The council, which covers towns including Kingaroy, Murgon, Nanango and Wondai, also claims that water pumps which were required to have a minimum design life of 15 years have deteriorated and corroded "causing the blockage of the internal cooling lines, resulting in the clear water pumps overheating, deterioration of the impeller wear rings and deterioration of the impeller hubs".
Originally published as Council sues over 'deteriorating' treatment plant