The Town of Cedaredge's sewer plant contractor was back on site during the past month for some additional warranty work. It was the second reported incident of significant operating problems at the plant which is still covered by the contractor's warranty, according to town staff.
Reporting on the issues to the town board on Feb. 16 was Public Works co-director Jerry Young.
In his report he stated, "We were concerned about all three of the effluent pumps. They had excessive vibration during operation and were leaking water onto the floor."
The electric driven effluent pumps are key components in the plant's design. They take the sewer plant's final treated effluent water and forces it 400 feet uphill to the discharge point into Surface Creek a mile away from the plant.
The public works report continued, "At the manufacture's request, we took the worst [vibrating pump] out of service until Moltz could get here to inspect them. Moltz [the general contractor on the project] brought in a crane, lifted each pump out for inspection, and then reset it. The conclusion is that they were all slightly off level and once they were re-leveled, they ran much smoother."
The leveling is thought to have been required because of "settling" of the new building they are housed in, Young explained. He also told trustees that the water leaking from the pumps onto the pump room floor was found to be caused by a separate plumbing problem - improper fitting of a "weep hole" - and that was addressed.
All of the refitting work was covered by contractor's warranty, trustees were told.
The big pumps were added to the plant design when the town board vetoed engineer's initial recommendation against the plant's location in Hart's Basin. Engineers had said that the cost of pumping effluent uphill would be too expensive for efficient operation. The engineers's preferred sewer plant sites were opposed by residents in the Stonebridge and Deer Creek Village neighborhoods. The town trustees finally concluded that pumping effluent uphill would after all be cost competitive with letting it flow by gravity down hill to Surface Creek from one of the other preferred site.
During 2017 budget work sessions last August, the cost of electricity to run the pumps was characterized as "super expensive." An estimated $42,000 for electricity to run the three pumps was put in the budget, and the number was later raised to $54,000.
Within weeks after the plant opened last summer, the contractor was called back for warranty work that required complete re-installation of drain valve manifolds in the bottom of the plant's two huge sewage treatment cells.
The town completed the nearly $5 million sewer plant last year with the majority of funding from grants, principle forgiveness loans, and low/no interest loans from agencies including DOLA providing $2.21 million; the state health department providing $1.05 million; the federal Water Resources and Power Development Authority providing $497,000