Improvements will bring pump station up to modern standards

Project funded through Clean Water Management Trust Fund
Nov. 26, 2012 @ 04:49 PM

Thomasville City Council added another pump station upgrade to its growing list of projects to improve an aging and problematic sewer infrastructure.
Council unanimously approved a capital project ordinance for the North Side Pump Station on West Cooksey Drive at its monthly meeting. The project will be funded through a $632,500 state loan to be paid back over 20 years, in addition to a $56,100 match from the city. Upgrades at the North Side Pump Station is another attempt by the city to address its sewer infrastructure following the massive wastewater spill in 2009.
"It's sad that it had to come to light in such a negative way when we had the spill," Councilman Neil Grimes said. "These projects that we have done now were already identified as very critically needed and were already in the works to be addressed. It's not that we all of sudden woke from a bad dream and decided to start doing something."
Morgan Huffman, city public services director, said the upgrades will bring the North Side Pump Station up to modern standards with new motors and drives for existing pumps, a new chopper mechanism at the head of the pumps and a new onsite generator. New drives on the pumps will increase efficiency and the chopper mechanism is designed to reduce pump clogging. The state requires all pump stations to have a backup power source. Upgrading the station is one of three projects the city is undertaking to improve the sewer and water infrastructure.
"These are projects that have been needed and the time is due," Huffman said. "We're trying to take charge of the system and make sure we're in control. We've got a pretty comprehensive plan for updating the system and making sure we have everything the way it needs to be."
In addition to the North Side Pump Station upgrade, the city will renovate the East Davidson Pump Station on Old Emmanuel Church Road, a facility built in 1965, that is currently receiving twice as much inflow as originally intended. The station experiences overflows caused by aging equipment and heavy rains. Renovations, estimated to cost more than $800,000, will include the installation of two new drives and pumps, a macerator and a backup generator.
This project will be funded through a combination of a Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant and money from a state revolving fund. Huffman said the project could begin as soon as February. A $1.23 million contract already has been awarded to replace more than 16,000 feet of pipeline in the Fair Grove community, a project that will increase water pressure and flow to more than 3,000 people who live in the area. 
"We put together a plan that covers at least the next 10 years and realistically it may take 20 years," said Huffman. " We've been working on them for several years now and it's finally coming to fruition.  I sat down and looked at water and sewer systems and asked what is our most pressing need. It takes several years to get these projects to where they're ready to go up for bid. With a little bit of luck we'll keep it up for the next decade or so, maybe two."
Huffman also said the city plans to replace a large section of the North Hamby outfall line from the plant to the area of Carmalt and Amazon streets.  Grimes stressed that no additional increases in water and sewer rates will result from any of these projects.  

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or