Claremore Daily Progress

December 19, 2012

Washed out but not washed away

Claremore continues to wrangle with water

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The City of Claremore continues to deal with water equipment issues and onMonday the council  approved $55,000 in funding for the next phase of engineering studies to deal with the ongoing issue.

Daryl Golbek, Public Works Director,  gave a water plant update as the city deals with failing equipment.
Claremore is currently operating its water plant using two back up pumps,  after a lighting strike was believed to damage the main pump.
Although the two agenda items were not directly related, it became clear that the aging system continues to bring concern about the long-term operations of the water plant.
The pump’s failure actually took several weeks and officials could only contribute the cause to lightning due to the type of damage that was found.
“The windings inside the pump had burned up,” Golbek said.
When the pump failed, water flooded the basement of the plant causing some secondary damage.
City Clerk Sarah Sharp has been working with the insurance company to secure payment on the claim.
The original estimate to replace the pump was $12,500, according to Golbek.
However, it was later determined that a new pump could cost the city as much as $30,000.
Golbek has been working with a local vendor to get the pump repaired at a cost of approximately $17,000.
The problem is that the pump was built in the 1960’s and the aging equipment has become outdated and difficult to repair.
As the city works to fix this immediate problem planning continues on a permanent solution to the problems at the water plant.
The GPS mapping system that was approved as a part of the $550,000 engineering project will play a role in improving the system, according to Golbek.
“It will help to make better informed decisions for the upgrades,” said Jeremy Ledbetter, Director of Public Infrastructure.
The study is part of the requirements issued by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
The issue stems from the new water plant, that has not operated since construction approximately 10 years ago.
This study is one of many different engineering efforts through the past 10 years that has been completed to deal with the issue.
Issues with both plants are being addressed in the plan and which upgrades will be need to be made, City Engineer Chris Cochran said.
After completion the maps could be made available to the public, according to Ledbetter.
Cost to the city is expected to be minimal for the repairs and the insurance is expected to pay on the claim.
The GPS mapping has been included in the 2013 Public Works budget as part of the five-year master water study, according to Golbek.
A draft of the study is to be completed in mid-January.
The council voiced concerns about the two issues asking for more accountability for the plant.
“I would like to see an itemized statement of the actual hours that we are being charged,” Councilor Thomas Cypert said.
City Manager Jim Thomas said that he would provide the documentation to the council in the form of a staff report.
“Are we running any additional risk by not getting a new one,” Councilor Bill Flanagan asked.
Golbek explained that there could be significant issues if the two small backup pumps fail; yet alternative methods could be used to restore service.
For now city staff will continue working on the plant and waiting for the arrival of the repaired pump.
It is estimated that it could be several weeks before the pump will be reinstalled.