Talk at the Monroe Town Council Thursday evening centered around ongoing problems with the lift station sewage pumps located on the east and west sides of town.
Monroe's water and sewage assistant superintendent, Justin Shaffer, reported the pumps, which are more than 30 years old, are in dire need of replacement.
Shaffer stated that each pump station contains two pumps which work in an alternating pattern. However, Shaffer noted that over the years necessity has dictated "quick fixes" that have not held up over time. The problem, Shaffer explained, is when one pump stops working it places enormous strain on the second pump to continue pumping sewage at an acceptable rate.
Council President Al Lehman stated that the replacement of the west pump is "something that has to be done." Lehman reported the west pump collects sewage from a good portion of the town, including Adams Central Schools and the Strick Corp. located to the north, then pumps the sewage to the east station, which in turn pumps sewage to Berne.
Lehman is confident replacing the west station will solve several issues occurring at the east station.
Shaffer submitted an estimate from a Bluffton firm, Raber Electric Inc., of approximately $8,600 to replace the west station. Shaffer explained Raber has offered to sell Monroe its demonstration model, allowing the town to make the purchase for nearly half the cost of a new model.
Lehman remarked that a key feature of the new station would be the implementation of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) which would monitor and control pump operations by gathering data from sensors at the station, enabling SCADA to sound an alarm in the event of a pump failure. Lehman said this would allow maintenance crews to respond immediately when a problem occurs, potentially saving the town thousands of man hours over the years.
Although discussion settled around the west station, councilwoman Debra Giessler noted that council will await further reports before choosing a course of action for the east station. However, Giessler was quick to assure the town "we are working on that (east pump) as well."