The point of the tour was to highlight the progress made by the department in remedying some of the numerous problems at the 87-year-old plant highlighted in a report issued late last year.
“All 147 of the safety issues mentioned in that report has been addressed,” Martin said.
The office building has been thoroughly renovated and the shop area has been cleaned up as well. All of the trash has been cleaned out of the back yard of the plant, and the roof has been repaired so that there are no longer any leaks.
“That should have been done 10 years ago,” Martin said.
New valves have been put into a basin that had previously been out of commission, and it is now fully operational. A new chlorine analyzer has been installed to replace one that was more than 15 years old, and the daily operator logs have been revised and updated. New fluoride pumps have been installed, and an oil leak over the clear well has been fixed. The clear well has also been covered up, “so there’s no way oil is getting in there,” according to Martin.
The chemical feeding points have been changed, which means that operators will be more able to maintain the proper Ph for the water. It will also make the water less corrosive and better for pipes. “It helps with fluoridation,” Martin said. “You need to be able to maintain a 1.0, but we haven’t been able to do that for the last five years because of the redesign of the plumbing.”
Although this process sounds complicated, Martin said these changes cost about $30 to accomplish.
There have also been new chlorine scales installed at the plant and at four wells. “It helps us maintain the proper chlorine residual just by letting us know how much we’ve got left,” he said.
A new “soft start” system and new motors have been installed at the Amanda Bingham Well and the at the surface water intake point.
Fuller estimates that all of the work done to date has cost the system well under $100,000.
Martin is quick to point out that all of the recent fixes and renovations were the result of group efforts. “Everybody, the folks from the service center, the water and sewer people, everybody worked together. There is no I in team, and we wouldn’t have been able to get any of this done without everybody pitching in and helping. Karen Phillips and the folks from the Public Works Department helped out, too, and I really want them to know that we appreciate it. Plus, with all we’ve done, the water quality is already improving.”
Stampfler characterized the conditions at the plant as “dramatically improved, and obviously a great deal of work has gone into correcting these safety violations.”
The council has granted Stampfler the authority to negotiate an interim private management contract for the water and sewer system in the wake of last year’s report, and that process remains ongoing.
“Funding remains a key issue,” he said. “Doug has done a great job with the safety issues, but we’re still talking with the companies that have expressed an interest. We’re hoping to have something ready by the first council meeting in May.”