At a meeting of the Gerald Board of Aldermen last week, President Ed Adams said he had a question “while the attorney is here.”
Adams then asked City Attorney Joe Purschke what the city could do to protect itself from the problems at the new sewer treatment plant.
Adams listed Heat tape issues, electrical problems, and pumps not working correctly as just a few examples of the ongoing problems.
T. Drury was the company who built the plant, under the supervision of Cochran Engineering who the city hired to engineer the entire project.
Water and Sewer Commissioner Nick Grube told the board that so far, whenever a problem has occurred, both companies respond immediately to get it fixed.
“What Nick is doing is correct,” Purschke told the board. He said the important thing was that all concerned were notified of any problems.
“It’s when they all start pointing fingers at each other saying ‘It’s not my fault,’ that the problems begin,” noted Purschke.
Another concern is the one-year warranty that came with the deal. No one is clear on when the warranty began. Some think last summer when the project was completed, others think last fall when the final payment was made.
In either case, Purschke is confident that he get an agreement that the warranty can be negotiated to begin once all currents problems with the plant have been resolved.
The problems are all confined to the plant itself. No city resident has experienced any problem with their service.
Some of the problems Grube has noted are:
• The rake that breaks up the sludge at the bottom of the lagoon has needed repairs at least five times.
• A wiring problem in the heat tape for the auger created electrical problems.
• When a pump clogged, the lift station didn’t automatically alternate to the next pump.
• Electrical problems in the control panel.
Grube said that Tuesday, all systems were working. He also said he has pleased with how responsive both T. Drury and Cochran have been to the problems.
“I’m hopeful that things will stay working now,” he said.
As for the system handling the amount of sewage it was designed to, there have been no problems. Even with the last few rains, systems have run smoothly - other than the noted mechanical/electrical failures.
The city will have Purschke ask for an extension of the warranty, and Grube sees no problems in obtaining the extension.
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