BWD approves order of new pumps for raw water station

WELLSVILLE – Members of the Buckeye Water District’s Engineering Committee agreed to purchase a pair of new pumps at a meeting held Friday morning at the BWD treatment plant in Wellsville.

Assistant manager Todd Brown will submit an order to Excel Fluid Group in Cleveland for two new Deming pumps at a price of $72,500 each. The order also will includes the purchase of a complete rotating assembly with bearings and shafts, at $19,000. A total price tag of $164,000 includes installation, but not whatever piping may be needed.

Board chairman Mike Ryan said there was approximately $228,000 of leftover funds from the Ohio Public Works Commission money obtained toward the construction of the district’s water treatment plant and raw water pump station, which were completed in 2009 and 2008, respectively.

“I think we have, without a doubt, enough money in that account to go ahead and do this,” he said.

BWD will have one of the new pumps installed in place of the stricken pump and get it running. They will then decommission the other, still-functional pump, remove it and set it aside as a backup, having the second new one installed in its place.

Brown says Excel Fluid Group has pledged to either complete all the installation work themselves or arrange for contractors to handle what they cannot. Deming, the pump manufacturer, also will send one of its engineers to assist with the operation, if necessary. Brown said it will take about 14 weeks to have the new pumps sourced and installed.

A reason for the catastrophic pump failure, or even exactly which parts failed, has still not be determined, according to district manager Al DeAngelis.

“(The computer) showed a spike on the suction side of the pump, and that was it,” he said.

The new pumps, each capable of handling 3,000 gallons per minute, are made in the United States, as opposed to the pumps that they will replace, whose foreign origins have been a source of trouble.

DeAngelis says agents from BWD’s insurance carrier have been unable to track down parts or even enough information to attempt fixing the broken unit. Phone calls to Austria, where the old pumps were manufactured, and a U.S. office in New York, have produced no useful results.

McGaffick pointed out that this lack of information blocks any sort of insurance settlement from being reached. Committee member Tim O’Hara said that sooner or later, the insurance company would simply need to produce a figure. Ryan recalled that the European pumps had cost roughly $60,000 each when purchased in 2008.

At a special meeting held April 8, board members voted to grant their pre-emptive approval for whatever action was suggested by the engineering committee to resolve the problem.

“It’s already been approved by the board to do this,” Ryan said.

Afterward, McGaffick suggested that the board’s approval should not have been necessary at all for the purchase.

“I don’t think they really needed a meeting,” he said. “Hey, this is your heart, baby!”

McGaffick liken the situation to a steel company suddenly left with no trucks to haul its steel.

“If we don’t have a pump to pump water, we’re out of business,” he said.