By Jeff Gallatin
City Council Thursday approved increased costs for repairing the seven pumps at the city’s two sewer pump stations, which sustained major damage during Hurricane Sandy.
During a special meeting to wrap up unfinished business at the end of the year, Bay Village service Director Dan Galli and general foreman Gordon Evans said the costs for the repair work at the Long Beach and Huntington pump stations have already gone from an initial amount of about $41,000 up to $55,000. The duo said it appears likely there will be at least another $15,000 in additional repair costs. Council had approved a contract for the lower amount in early December.
At one point several weeks ago, the city was down to one functioning pump out of seven. Mayor Debbie Sutherland credited Evans and Donny Landers with getting emergency generators to the pump stations and setting them up to keep services working. Administration officials said if all the pumps had failed, it was likely many Bay Village residents would have had flooding in their basements as a result.
“Gordon and Donny and the service department saved a lot of us from a lot of potential problems with their work during Sandy and the aftermath,” Sutherland said.
She said as of Friday, five out of the seven were functioning properly again.
Galli said at the meeting the primary reason for many of the problems was that several tests indicated a blown transformer was apparently incorrectly installed several years ago. He said tests by city engineers, City Electric (the company contracted for the repairs) and CEI all indicated that the transformer was a major problem. As a result, Galli said CEI officials said the city should send bills related to the transformer to the utility.
Councilman at Large Dwight Clark asked if the utility would cover other expenses, such as salaries and other costs that could be traced back to the transformer. Galli indicated they don’t know how many of the bills will be paid for by the utility, but said it would be reviewing all of them. He said because CEI also confirmed the problems with the transformer, it is already taking some responsibility for the problems.
Galli said the repairs are needed, so the city should make sure the costs are able to be covered, even if the utility ultimately picks up all or most of the bills.
Sutherland said with five of the seven pumps operating efficiently, the city should be able to handle any problems while the final two pumps are repaired.
“We’re in a lot better shape than we were a few weeks ago with these,” she said.
City officials said the final two pumps apparently will have to go back to the factory to be repaired. No specific timetable has been set for their return.
Workers continue to monitor the pumps and the stations closely so they can respond quickly in case any other problems develop, Sutherland said.
“We don’t want any other sewer or power problems developing if we can help it,” she said.