B-131794, MAY 27, 1957

B-131794: May 27, 1957

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED MAY 8. ON ACCOUNT OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE BID UPON WHICH THE CONTRACT IS BASED. THE PRICE ON ITEM NO. 2 WAS $120. THE BID ON ALL SIX ITEMS WAS ACCEPTED ON FEBRUARY 15. WHICH IS AT GLEN ECHO. HE LEARNED THAT THE TANK TO BE CLEANED WAS AT GREAT FALLS PARK. WHICH WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ASCERTAINED TO CONTAIN APPROXIMATELY 34. 000 GALLONS AND IS STATED TO BE PROBABLY THE LARGEST SEPTIC TANK IN THE WASHINGTON AREA. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTOR HAS COMPLETED ALL ITEMS EXCEPT NO. 2 AND HAS PUMPED 10. THE CONTRACTOR STATES THAT HE WAS REQUIRED TO HAUL THE 10. IF HE IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETELY PUMP OUT THE TANK.

B-131794, MAY 27, 1957

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED MAY 8, 1957, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED SUBURBAN SANITARY ENGINEERS UNDER ITEM NO. 2 OF CONTRACT NO. 14-10 -028-1202, DATED FEBRUARY 15, 1957, ON ACCOUNT OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE BID UPON WHICH THE CONTRACT IS BASED.

THE PURCHASING OFFICE, NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS, BY INVITATION NO. 91, REQUESTED BIDS FOR CLEANING SEPTIC TANKS AT SIX LOCATIONS IN AND AROUND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ITEM NO. 2 COVERED THE PUMPING OUT AND CLEANING OF ONE SEPTIC TANK AT GREAT FALLS PARK (MARYLAND SIDE).

SUBURBAN SANITARY ENGINEERS SUBMITTED THE ONLY BID RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION. THE BIDDER QUOTED PRICES RANGING UP TO $365 FOR THE VARIOUS ITEMS. THE PRICE ON ITEM NO. 2 WAS $120. THE BID ON ALL SIX ITEMS WAS ACCEPTED ON FEBRUARY 15, 1957.

BY LETTER DATED APRIL 4, 1957, THE CONTRACTOR ADVISED THAT, IN SUBMITTING THE BID ON ITEM NO. 2 FOR GREAT FALLS PARK, MARYLAND, IT ERRONEOUSLY CONFUSED THAT SEPTIC TANK WITH ONE LOCATED ON THE C AND O CANAL AT LOCK 7, WHICH IS AT GLEN ECHO, MARYLAND; AND THAT WHEN ITS TRUCK DRIVER PROCEEDED TO LOCK 7 EXPECTING TO PUMP TWO LOADS (2,000 GALLONS), AS ESTIMATED IN PREPARING THE BID, HE LEARNED THAT THE TANK TO BE CLEANED WAS AT GREAT FALLS PARK, WHICH WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ASCERTAINED TO CONTAIN APPROXIMATELY 34,000 GALLONS AND IS STATED TO BE PROBABLY THE LARGEST SEPTIC TANK IN THE WASHINGTON AREA.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTOR HAS COMPLETED ALL ITEMS EXCEPT NO. 2 AND HAS PUMPED 10,000 GALLONS UNDER THAT ITEM.

THE CONTRACTOR STATES THAT HE WAS REQUIRED TO HAUL THE 10,000 GALLONS (10 TRUCK LOADS) PUMPED FROM THE SEPTIC TANK AT GREAT FALLS PARK, A DISTANCE OF 30 MILES TO A SEWAGE DISPOSAL MANHOLE AT MELPAR, FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA, AND THAT, IF HE IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETELY PUMP OUT THE TANK, HE WILL ONLY RECEIVE APPROXIMATELY $3.50 PER LOAD. IT IS ALLEGED THAT A REASONABLE CHARGE WOULD BE $40 OR $50 PER LOAD DEPENDING UPON WHERE PERMISSION CAN BE OBTAINED TO DUMP THE SLUDGE.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE APPEARS NO DOUBT THAT THE CONTRACTOR MADE AN ERROR IN QUOTING ON ITEM NO. 2. CONSIDERING THE FACT, WHICH SEEMS TO BE FAIRLY INFERABLE FROM THE RECORD, THAT THE GREAT FALLS TANK WAS VERY MATERIALLY LARGER THAN THOSE COVERED BY THE OTHER ITEMS OF THE INVITATION, WE BELIEVE THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE BID ON THAT ITEM, IN COMPARISON WITH THE AMOUNTS BID ON THE OTHERS, SHOULD HAVE SUGGESTED THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR ON ITEM NO. 2 AND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE REQUESTED VERIFICATION THEREOF PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONSIDERING THE AMOUNT OF WORK ALREADY PERFORMED, THE CONTRACTOR MAY BE RELIEVED FROM FURTHER PERFORMANCE UNDER ITEM NO. 2 OF THE CONTRACT AND PAYMENT OF THE FULL $120 MAY BE MADE TO COVER THE SERVICES PERFORMED TO DATE UNDER THE CONTRACT, AS SUGGESTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY.