The town of Trumbull, Conn., started litigation against Mark IV Construction Co., Bridgeport, after deficiencies were found on the Jog Hill Trumbull sewer expansion project, Contract 3, which was completed in December 2009.

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The civil suit, which seeks $18 million, follows a forensic audit conducted last year by Rhode Island-based CCR Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors and the Beta Group. The review found 21 change orders to the contract for the sewer project awarded to Mark IV in May 2007, with extensions totaling more than $3 million. Also, the city paid for $1.6 million worth of engineering services performed from 2001 through 2009, with only $564,000 of that work being formally bid. Based on these findings, the Trumbull Water Pollution Control Authority approved an engineering study, which was performed by Shelton, Conn.-based Tighe & Bond.

Tighe & Bond’s investigation of the Contract 3 project, which took place in October, revealed that approximately 26% of the street length within the project’s area exhibited signs of trench settlement. The study confirmed that sanitary trench compaction was discontinued after a few tests early on in the project. Three hundred and sixty-five pipe defects were found, including misshapen and compressed pipes. Other defects and deficiencies cited in the report include chimney and pipe push-throughs and cracked saddles with water infiltration. The report estimated the total cost of repairs for the defects within the sewer system to be $4.7 million.

Based upon request, after the investigation of Contract 3, the town’s WPCA hired Tighe and Bond to oversee a sewer project in Trumbull called Contract 4 that is currently under way. No problems with this project have been reported.

Trumbull WPCA is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation into ongoing sewer construction. Trumbull First Selectman Timothy Herbst said in a statement that his administration is cooperating fully with the federal government and will provide all information that may be required. The Contract 3 project took place before Herbst took office, but he requested the forensic audit of the project after his administration addressed irregularities within the town’s WPCA at the onset of his role as first selectman.

Attempts to contact Mark IV Construction’s attorney, Kenneth M. Rozich of Jacobs & Rozich LLC, were unsuccessful.

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