From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Terri House):
The perpetual pump problems that have perplexed the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District (PSSGID) continue to persist, with two additional pump failures occurring, leaving the district with no operational backup pump on site.
Should the pumps go down, there is potential for a sewage spill, with the district looking to reduce the possibility of any sewage going into the river.
The district’s sanitation system includes “three lift stations, and the pumping stations that transport
the town’s wastewater to Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) for treatment. There are approximately 835 customers using … the collection system,” according to an agenda brief from Tuesday’s PSSGID meeting.
“In 2016, the GID and the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to pump the town’s sewage to the PAWSD Vista Treatment Plant,” explains the brief.
The board discussed the challenge of securing a backup pump in the event of another pump failure at Tuesday’s meeting.
“There continue to be unsustainable failures with the pumps,” a June board agenda brief reads.
The root of the issue is the ability for the district to pump poop uphill from town to the PAWSD ponds west of town.
“Since the last update to the board, we have experienced two more pump failures,” said Public Works Director Martin Schmidt as part of his update on the pump replacement process and the state of the district’s pump stations. “Staff was able to make the adjustments, and move the pumps around to keep the sewage pumping. We are currently out of spare shufflable pumps.”
“The pumps failed due to a seal failure and due to an electrical failure,” reads an agenda brief for the meeting. “Both were stemming from issues that we are addressing with the replacement pumps.”
Schmidt noted that an American Technical team from Farmington came up Tuesday to look at rebuilding a pump…
Schmidt explained they could get the pump to work with bearings and seal replacements. He also noted that it was an older type of pump that has tended to last longer and had the potential to become a spare for the future redesign.
The downside, according to Schmidt, is that rebuilt pump would not be at 100 percent of capacity. It would take about a month to rebuild the pump at a cost between $10,000 and $13,000. The district has spent approximately $2,000 on investi- gating the potential of the pump rebuild…
The rebuild project
The district is in the process of a re-engineering of the pump system. “A $400,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health Environment has been awarded for replacement of the eight pumps at Pump Stations 1 and 2,” reads an
“The cost of the pump replacement project is $800,000 with a $400,000 grant helping to pay for that project,” Martin explained of the rebuild project.
“Staff is continuing to work with Pentair-Fairbanks on getting the pump engineering complete and all of the orders submitted. Pentair has assured staff that every element of the construction of the pumps is being expedited and and that the last of the submittals for construction are imminent. Once the submittals are complete, a meeting with all involved parties will be conducted to coordi- nate the planning and replacement of the pumps. This meeting will be critical for the smooth transition to the new pumping system because of the complexity of making the change while we are still receiving sewage at the pump station,” reads the agenda brief. “Staff is cautiously optimistic about getting the pumps changed out before the I&I season in the spring, but at this time there is no set schedule.”
In response to a question from board president DonVolger, Schmidt clarified that the district will be getting eight pumps from Pentair-Fairbanks.
“We’re hoping that when we take care of the re-engineering and installation of eight new pumps that our system will be pretty much intact, maybe like it should have been engineered in the first place,” said Volger, with Schmidt confirming.
Schmidt reminded the board that former employee Gene Tautges wrote a grant and the district built a 250,000-gallon overflow tank.
“Right now, in a 24-hour period, we are anywhere between about 215,000 and 260,000 gallons,” Schmidt said regarding current sewage flows. “That usually holds