Reservoir contractor, Tampa Bay Water agree on settlement

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CLEARWATER, FL, Feb. 22, 2011 -- Tampa Bay Water's board of directors today approved a settlement agreement with the Regional Reservoir's general contractor, Barnard Construction. Under the terms of the agreement, Barnard Construction and its subcontractor McDonald Construction Corp., will pay Tampa Bay Water $750,000 before trial; Barnard remains liable for up to $5 million depending on the outcome of the trial scheduled for July 2011.

The settlement reflects the overwhelming evidence gathered in the discovery process that shows that the soil-cement cracking at the reservoir was caused by the engineer's bad design and not by any deficiencies in the actual construction of the embankment.

"This agreement allows Tampa Bay Water to focus its litigation efforts on HDR Engineering, and keeps Barnard Construction in the case to defend itself and its work against HDR's claim that construction is responsible for the cracking," said Richard A. Harrison, Tampa Bay Water's counsel for the litigation. "Barnard and its earthworks subcontractor are the people in the best position to defend their own work and we expect they will do so vigorously and persuasively."

Tampa Bay Water filed the lawsuit in federal court in December 2008 against HDR Engineering Inc., the reservoir's design engineer; Barnard Construction, the contractor; and CDG, which provided construction management. The board reached a settlement agreement with CDG in October 2010. The legal case against HDR Engineering Inc. continues, with a trial scheduled for this summer.

"Tampa Bay Water will continue to pursue the litigation against the design engineer, HDR Engineering," affirms Tampa Bay Water General Manager Jerry Seeber. "The evidence and testimony gathered through the discovery process demonstrates that HDR's defective design is the cause of the cracking at the reservoir. We will hold the engineer accountable for its failures on this important public project."

As the legal case progresses, Tampa Bay Water is procuring a permanent fix for the soil cement cracking so the reservoir can function as intended for the long-term.

For more information, go to www.tampabaywater.org or call Tampa Bay Water at 727.796.2355.

Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to the public utility systems of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

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