With the Martin Slough interceptor project in deep doo-doo, the predictable finger-pointing continues today with local subcontractor SHN Consulting Engineers & Geologists defending itself against accusations from Oregon’s Apex Directional Drilling.

Apex recently announced via press release that it has abandoned Eureka’s multi-million-dollar sewer system upgrade, blaming SHN for allegedly misidentifying the type of soil it would find under Pine Hill, near the Eureka Municipal Golf Course. This mistaken conclusion, along with the City of Eureka’s stubborn refusal to accept the facts in the ground, forced Apex to give up for the first time in its history, according to the company.

SHN today responded with its own press release, saying Apex’s claims are “inaccurate and misleading.” In a phone interview this morning, SHN President and CEO Jeff Nelson said the company stands by its work. He said discussions with other drilling companies are underway.

This mutual finger-pointing will almost certainly wind up in a courtroom. Apex has retained local attorney John Lopez, who told the LoCO yesterday that city officials declined his client’s offer to split cost overruns 50/50.

With lawsuits looming, Nelson said he couldn’t discuss the details of the project’s current status.

Calls to Eureka engineer Charles Roecklein have not been returned.

Here’s the press release from SHN:

In the interest of providing accurate information regarding the abandonment of the Martin Slough project by Apex Drilling from Portland, Oregon, SHN is submitting this brief statement to correct the misinformation contained within the recent press release from Apex. SHN does not intend to discuss in detail potential areas of litigation regarding the role or performance of Apex Drilling in a public forum. That would be unprofessional and inappropriate. The information in Apex’s press release is inaccurate and misleading.

Soil conditions at the Martin Slough project were identified accurately by SHN’s geologists and engineers. Apex did not follow SHN’s recommendations which resulted with their failed efforts with the project. In a March 25th letter to Apex, the City of Eureka stated that it is not in agreement with many of the conditions and statements made by Apex, including Apex’s claim of “change of soil conditions … This leaves the City no choice but to terminate Apex’s control of the project work” as stated in the letter.

SHN Consulting Engineers & Geologists, Inc. has been successfully providing geotechnical services in the greater Eureka area and throughout Northern California and Southern Oregon for over three decades.