Faulty Packing Dooms Campground’s Electrical Lines
Lisbon, N.Y., officials and representatives from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) are working to resolve electrical problems at the Lisbon Beach and Campground that allegedly stemmed from faulty wire installation in 2004, the Watertown Daily Times reported.
Campground Director Michael G. O’Neil said major electrical problems are an ongoing issue for the campground’s newest 36 sites, paid for by NYPA as part of the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project license renewal.
He said he believes the lines were not buried properly.
NYPA information specialist Paul A. DeMichele said the authority was informed of the problems in July and is contacting the contractors to find out who, if anyone, is responsible for the problems.
“We are currently looking into how we can help with this matter,” he said.
NYPA awarded the project contract to J.E. Sheehan Corp., Potsdam, which subcontracted the electrical work to S&L Inc., Colton. But a third, unnamed company was said to have performed the excavation work. The project was monitored by a NYPA inspector, who approved the installation process.
O’Neil said the plans used by the contractors called for sand to be packed on top of the wires, but workers filled exposed trenches with the rocks and dirt that was dug out for the lines.
“Whenever you dig for electricity, you always use sand padding and you never use large boulders because it crushes the line,” he said. “When we dug, we found no sand padding.”
He said the problems with the lines became so frequent last year he was forced to dig the lines up.
“We found out by doing testing that we couldn’t get proper voltage and amperage to the sites,” he said.
O’Neil, who worked as a transmission distribution supervisor for Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. for 33 years, has made emergency repairs on the lines.
“The whole thing needs to be redone. It’s a disaster,” he said.
Supervisor James W. Armstrong said he hopes an arrangement can be made with the power authority to have the repairs done, but no meetings have been held.
“We’ve been in correspondence and it sounds like they want to help us make this right, and that’s pretty much where we are at,” Armstrong said. “We want to set up a meeting and we want to get this fixed.”
Thomas H. Potter, a project manager for S&L Inc. who worked on the campground six years ago, said he was contacted once, about two years ago, regarding electrical problems at the beach, but then communications halted. He said he believed the problem had been resolved because he heard no further complaints.
He said that his company would not have filled the lines without a sand pack and that a third contractor did the excavation work.
Potter and DeMichele were unable to provide the name of the third contractor. Calls to J.E. Sheehan for comment were not returned immediately.