New wastewater pumps approved for city’s Park Street lift station
ISHPEMING — The city of Ishpeming is acting quickly to replace two 50-year-old wastewater pumps at its Park Street lift station after a recent mechanical failure left the station with only one operational pump.
During a special meeting Tuesday, the Ishpeming City Council approved a motion to spend $24,760 to replace the two existing pumps and provide an identical third pump as a backup.
Crane Engineering, a company out of Kimberly, Wisconsin, is expected to start the project as early as the first week of March.
Mayor Karl Lehman, who was absent and excused from Tuesday’s meeting, wrote a memo to Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Tonkin and City Manager Mark Slown in which he asserted that installing the new pumps was the only “safe course of action.”
“It is my opinion that we should never, ever leave our residents and water and sewer customers with the potential for catastrophic results within their homes from backups from sewers, etc,” Lehmann wrote.
Department of Public Works Director Carl Petersen said not only will the updated pumps provide improved performance at the station, the contractor will return each year to perform maintenance on them for a nominal fee.
“They are going to be better, in a sense,” Petersen said of the pumps. “They are 50 years newer for one thing. The design of them are going to be a lot better, and they (Crane) will actually come back every year and change the fluid in the pump.”
Councilman Pat Scanlon, who asked several questions about the project, expressed concerned about how the work would be funded.
“The last question, the most important one of all: Where is the money coming from?” Scanlon asked.
Slown said the expense would be paid from the city’s sewer fund.
“I have spoken to our finance director,” Slown said. “It’s a lot of money, but it won’t destroy our fund.”
According to the proposed 2019 budget posted on the city’s website, officials expected to end the year with a $1.2 million fund balance prior to this expenditure.
Peterson said the new pumps would be compatible with any future upgrades to the lift station and the third, spare pump will be stored in a secure place until it is needed.