Columbia dredging left unfinished as financial dispute continues

Pa. firm packs equipment and leaves

March 08, 2011|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

A Pennsylvania dredging company hired by the Columbia Association to remove tons of sediment from the bottom of Lake Elkhorn is packing its equipment and leaving the job unfinished as a financial dispute continues over the massive task.

Workers for Mobile Dredging and Pumping of Chester Pa. this week began vacating the work site at the 37-acre lake instead of resuming the work after a winter hiatus. Columbia Association board chairwoman Cynthia Coyle confirmed that CA did not extend an expired contract with Mobile.

"The main thing everybody needs to understand is the lake is not finished," she said, adding that CA is committed to completing the work. The firm, which got the $5.2 million contract in September 2009, had not finished when the contract expired in January.

Mobile Dredging filed a $1 million lawsuit against CA in November in Howard County Circuit Court for breach of contract, claiming the association had failed to pay for work performed The company argued that CA had not done surveys of the sediment before work began and could not therefore measure how much was removed. The CA board had authorized spending $1.2 million more on the job in August, claiming that heavy storms in recent years had left much more mud to be removed than estimated.

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