Written by Jess Paniszczyn
Construction on the new South Irving Library has been stalled for approximately seven weeks by ground water.
Some ground water at the site had been anticipated and planned for in the design of the structure. A sump pump and two additional pumps are part of the original library design to ensure that the basement and its contents remain dry. However, when the site contractor working for Ratcliff Construction began working to set the piers, he encountered significantly more water than originally planned for and requested construction be halted until the source of the water was determined.
“We started investigating thinking that there might be a water main leak. We went through that process and did not find any,” said Casey Tate, Irving’s Capital Improvement Program Director. “We thought Millennial Fountain might be leaking, so we looked at Millennial Fountain. But it was not leaking. Then (the contractor) said he thought the water might be coming from Centennial Pond, so we lowered the pond level. After lowering the pond level for two weeks, the water in the level in the hole rose. So that didn’t make a lot of logical sense to us.
“In anticipation that something may have to be done, we did have an engineering company design a slurry wall, which would isolate the basement. It is kind of an injection of a bed line material that would seal off the ground water.”
If the City decides to add the slurry wall to the construction project, it will increase the project’s cost by approximately $280,000.