B-131670, JUN. 4, 1957

B-131670: Jun 4, 1957

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THE METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED FRIDAY. IN VIEW OF YOUR OPINION THAT SUCH AN ACTION WOULD PRECLUDE FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE PROBLEMS CONNECTED THEREWITH OR RESULT IN GREATER EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT IF CHANGES IN THE CONTRACT ARE MADE AFTER AWARD. UNLIKE THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED WHEN THE HOOVER DAM WAS BUILT. THE INDEPENDENT BOARD OF ENGINEERS WAS NOT APPOINTED PRIOR TO CALLING FOR BIDS ON THE GLEN CANYON DAM. YOU QUESTION THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE DAM'S FOUNDATIONS AND STATE THAT SERIOUS PROBLEMS AFFECTING YOUR WATER SUPPLY AND POWER CONTRACT FOR PUMPING METROPOLITAN WATER ARE INVOLVED. THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR HAS FURNISHED US A REPORT DATED MAY 22 WHICH CONFIRMS THE PRIOR INFORMAL ADVICE TO US THAT THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED ON APRIL 29 AND FURTHER STATES.

B-131670, JUN. 4, 1957

TO MR. JOSEPH JENSEN, THE METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 1957, RECEIVED BY US ON APRIL 29, AND ACKNOWLEDGED ON MAY 2, RELATIVE TO THE AWARD BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR OF A CONTRACT FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF GLEN CANYON DAM.

BRIEFLY STATED, YOUR TELEGRAM PROTESTS PRIMARILY THE FORMAL AWARD OF A CONTRACT PRIOR TO RECEIPT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE VIEWS OF AN INDEPENDENT BOARD OF ENGINEERS, IN VIEW OF YOUR OPINION THAT SUCH AN ACTION WOULD PRECLUDE FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE PROBLEMS CONNECTED THEREWITH OR RESULT IN GREATER EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT IF CHANGES IN THE CONTRACT ARE MADE AFTER AWARD. YOU STATE THAT, UNLIKE THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED WHEN THE HOOVER DAM WAS BUILT, THE INDEPENDENT BOARD OF ENGINEERS WAS NOT APPOINTED PRIOR TO CALLING FOR BIDS ON THE GLEN CANYON DAM. ALSO, YOU QUESTION THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE DAM'S FOUNDATIONS AND STATE THAT SERIOUS PROBLEMS AFFECTING YOUR WATER SUPPLY AND POWER CONTRACT FOR PUMPING METROPOLITAN WATER ARE INVOLVED. IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR HAS FURNISHED US A REPORT DATED MAY 22 WHICH CONFIRMS THE PRIOR INFORMAL ADVICE TO US THAT THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED ON APRIL 29 AND FURTHER STATES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE PRINCIPAL BURDEN OF MR. JENSEN'S TELEGRAM GOES TO A REQUEST FOR DELAY OF AWARD OF CONTRACT FOR GLEN CANYON DAM UNTIL A CONSULTING BOARD HAD BEEN CONVENED AND ITS VIEWS ESTABLISHED. THE GEOLOGIC SUFFICIENCY OF THE DAM SITE WAS QUESTIONED. MR. JENSEN SUGGESTED LACK OF A PARALLEL WITH PROCEDURES USED ON HOOVER DAM.

"IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE PRACTICE OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION TO USE CONSULTANTS ON IMPORTANT OR UNPRECEDENTED STRUCTURES. SO FAR AS TO GLEN CANYON, DR. C. P. BERKEY, AN EMINENT GEOLOGIST, HAS BEEN CONSULTED AS TO THE SELECTION OF THE DAM SITE.

"AS TO A PARALLEL WITH HOOVER DAM PROCEDURES, THIS MAGNITUDE OF DAM WAS IN 1928 UNPRECEDENTED. ACCORDINGLY, THE CONGRESS, BY JOINT RESOLUTION IN MAY 1928 (45 STAT. 1011) DIRECTED THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO CONVENE A CONSULTING BOARD TO EXAMINE THE SITE AND REVIEW THE PLANS AND ESTIMATES FOR THE DAM. THIS BOARD REPORTED IN NOVEMBER 1928. THE BOULDER CANYON PROJECT ACT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY PASSED BY CONGRESS AND SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT ON DECEMBER 21, 1928. (45 STAT. 1057). THE PRINCIPAL CONTRACT FOR THE DAM WAS AWARDED ON MARCH 11, 1931, ON THE BASIS OF GENERAL DRAWINGS PREPARED FOR SPECIFICATION PURPOSES. THESE DRAWINGS REFLECTED THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CONSULTING BOARD. ON NOVEMBER 19, 1932, TWENTY MONTHS AFTER AWARD OF CONTRACT, THE SAME COLORADO RIVER BOARD APPROVED DESIGNS, AND, OF COURSE, THE SUBSEQUENT WORKING DRAWINGS GAVE EFFECT TO THIS APPROVAL.

"AS TO GLEN CANYON DAM, THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION HAS FOLLOWED ITS USUAL PROCEDURES. IN THE INVESTIGATIONS STAGE, IT EMPLOYED AN EMINENT CONSULTANT, DR. BERKEY, TO ADVISE IN THE FIELD WHERE PRECEDENCE WAS LACKING. THE GEOLOGIC SUFFICIENCY OF THE SITE WAS GONE INTO THOROUGHLY BY THE CONGRESS DURING HEARINGS ON AUTHORIZATION OF THE PROJECT, AND THE CONGRESS APPARENTLY DID NOT FEEL CONSTRAINED TO DIRECT THAT A CONSULTING BOARD BE CONVENED, AS WITH THE UNPRECENDENTED HOOVER DAM. (PUBLIC LAW 485, 84TH CONGRESS, APPROVED APRIL 11, 1956; 70 STAT. 105)

"WHEN CONSTRUCTION FUNDS BECAME AVAILABLE FOR GLEN CANYON DAM, THE BUREAU, AS HAS BEEN ITS SUCCESSFUL PRACTICE FOR MANY YEARS, CALLED FOR BIDS BASED UPON GENERAL DRAWINGS REFLECTING THE INFORMATION DEVELOPED IN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATIONS OF THE SITE, AND IN THE BIDDING PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS BID ON THE BASIS OF UNIT PRICES; I.E., $---- PER CUBIC YARD OF CONCRETE IN THE DAM, $---- PER POUND OF STRUCTURAL STEEL. THE CONTRACTOR IS ON NOTICE THAT QUANTITIES INDICATED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE APPROXIMATIONS FOR BID COMPARISON. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MAY AT ANY TIME BY WRITTEN ORDER MAKE CHANGES IN THE DRAWINGS OR SPECIFICATIONS SUBJECT TO EQUITABLE ADJUSTMENT IN PAYMENT DUE THE CONTRACTOR.

"CONSISTENT WITH BUREAU PRACTICE, A BOARD OF EMINENT CONSULTANTS HAS BEEN APPOINTED AND WAS CONVENED AT THE SITE BEGINNING MAY 1. THAT BOARD HAS REPORTED ITS FINDINGS; THOSE FINDINGS CONFIRM THE BUREAU'S CONSTRUCTION PROPOSALS EXCEPT AS TO DETAILS EASILY ACCOMMODATED. THE BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS WILL BE REFLECTED IN THE FINAL WORKING DRAWINGS, AS AT HOOVER DAM.'

IN CONNECTION WITH THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED REPORT, WE HAVE NOTED AN ITEM IN A STAFF INFORMATION LETTER OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE, DENVER, COLORADO, DATED MAY 20, 1957, WHICH STATES-

"CONSULTANTS REPORT ON GLEN CANYON--- THE FIVE-MAN BOARD OF CONSULTANTS RECENTLY APPOINTED TO CONSIDER THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF GLEN CANYON DAM HAS REPORTED FAVORABLY ON PLANS FOR THE STRUCTURE. IN ITS REPORT OF MAY 7, THE BOARD MADE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT ON ADEQUACY OF THE FOUNDATION: "THE NAVAJO SANDSTONE, WHICH WILL FORM THE FOUNDATION AND BOTH ABUTMENTS OF THE DAM, IS A REMARKABLY UNIFORM, MASSIVE, FINE- TO MEDIUM- GRAINED SILICA SANDSTONE, CONTAINING NO KNOWN STRUCTURAL WEAKNESSES THAT WOULD SERIOUSLY IMPAIR ITS MASS SUITABILITY AS A FOUNDATION MATERIAL FOR THE HIGH ARCH DAM.'

OTHER MATTERS CONSIDERED BY THE GROUP INCLUDED EARTHQUAKE LOADING VALUES, ARCH STRESSES AT THE ABUTMENTS AND ELSEWHERE IN THE STRUCTURE, MODULES OF ELASTICITY OF THE ROCK AND CONCRETE, THERMAL CONTROL OF CONCRETE, CONTRACTION JOINT LAYOUT AND GROUTING.

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD WERE: JULIAN HINDS, CHAIRMAN; JOHN J. HAMMOND; RAYMOND E. DAVIS; EDWARD B. BURWELL, JR.; AND JOHN W. VANDERWILT.'

RELATIVE TO THE PROBLEMS CONCERNING THE WATER SUPPLY, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR'S REPORT OF MAY 22 ALSO FURNISHED US A COPY OF THEIR LETTER OF APRIL 26 TO MR. SIMPSON, CHAIRMAN, COLORADO RIVER BOARD, COPY ATTACHED, OUTLINING THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION'S PROPOSED ACTION TO AVOID PREJUDICING THE RIGHTS OF DOWNSTREAM WATER USERS DURING THE DAM CLOSURE PROCESS.

INASMUCH AS THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS IS PRIMARILY A RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE REQUIRING THE CONSTRUCTION WORK AND IN VIEW OF THE REPORTED APPROVAL BY THE FIVE-MAN BOARD OF CONSULTANTS AFTER ITS CONSIDERATION OF THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE DAM, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH WE COULD OBJECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN THE MATTER.