SYCAMORE – The City Council approved the about $350,000 purchase of new pumps and connection equipment for the city’s wastewater treatment system during its regular meeting Monday.
The council voted, 6-0, in favor of the public works department buying the two larger pumps, two smaller pumps and compatible connection equipment. Aldermen Steve Braser and Rick Kramer were absent.
Last winter, one out of the four larger pumps at the city’s influent pump station started showing signs of failure, City Manager Brian Gregory said. Then a second larger pump started showing similar signs, he said.
Rather than repairing the machines for about $25,000 each, Gregory said, it was more cost-effective to buy new pumps that would need to be replaced anyway as part of the Phase 3 improvements for the city’s wastewater system, which goes to bid this fall.
“It wasn’t financially prudent to put money into a pump that outlived its useful life,” Gregory said.
In February, the council approved the purchase of replacement pumps that would meet present needs and would still be compatible for future updates to the wastewater system instead of investing in costly repairs for a pump that is planned to be taken out of service within the next year and a half.
Public Works Director Fred Busse said backups in residents’ basements could have happened if the problems with the older pumps were not addressed.
“If we can’t get the water out of this wet well area, which is the lowest point in Sycamore, then it’s going to start to back up,” Busse said. “And when it backs up, it finds its way in through the neighborhoods.”
Busse said the purchase of the new pumps won’t result in additional rate increases for residents.
The entire Phase 3 improvement project is estimated to cost $25 million. Busse said the hope is to begin construction next spring and the project is expected to take 16 months.
Since the new pumps are coming from the same company that the city bought the two replacement pumps from in February, the prices are discounted for the remaining pumps in the city’s system, Gregory said. He said the city was protected from recent metal price surges because of the price lock if it bought the pumps and equipment by the end of the calendar year.
“It eliminates the risk of that fluctuation,” Gregory said.