WALLINGFORD — The Town Council unanimously approved a budget amendment to fund unexpected maintenance of the Pistapaug Pond reservoir’s raw water pumps.
Water from Mackenzie Reservoir is pumped to Ulbrich Reservoir and then into Pistapaug Pond, a 136-acre body of water near the Durham and Northford town lines. The water is then pumped uphill to the Pistapaug water treatment plant.
The request from Neil Amwake, Water and Sewer Divisions general manager, was for a cash appropriation of $44,000, including $37,000 for electric pumping equipment and $7,000 for maintenance of the water treatment equipment.
In July, Water Division staff detected operational issues with one of four pumps in the station, according to a Sept. 25 letter from Amwake to the Public Utilities Commission.
Staff spent close to eight weeks making attempts to diagnose the problem, but a contractor, who removed and disassembled the pump, discovered galvanic corrosion that had caused one shaft coupling to split.
The cost of contractor was included in the $44,000 request, Amwake said Thursday.
Amwake said in the letter that based on this discovery, along with the equalized run time of all four pumps and the likelihood that the other pumps are in a similar condition, Water Division staff recommended repair and replacement work to two of the four pumps.
He added that he plans to include another $44,000 to inspect and repair the other two pumps in next year’s Water Division capital budget.
Amwake said during Wednesday night’s council meeting that the pumps were installed in 1993, when the pump station and water treatment plant came online.
Town Councilor Gina Morgenstein asked about the average life expectancy of the pumps and warranties
Amwake said life span of equipment depends on how hard and often the pumps are run, but the galvanic corrosion that’s really causing the problem is “like stray electrical currents running across the pump in the couplings, which is typical for a water environment like this.”
In February, the council approved a bid waiver to incorporate Emerson, Inc. components into the supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, system’s upgrade plans and specifications for the Pistapaug Pond water treatment plant SCADA upgrades project.
An October 2018 cost estimate prepared by the engineering consultant projected the cost of the Emerson System components at $748,244, though the final cost will not be known until the design is finalized and the project is bid late spring or early summer of next year, Amwake said.