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Council approves funds to repair sewer lift station

Joshua Baethge,
The Van Alstyne Leader
Flushable toilet wipes caused this sanitary sewer lift station on Caruth Drive to fail. On June 23, the Van Alstyne City Council approved a $61,000 expenditure for repairs.

On June 23, the Van Alstyne City Council turned its attention to the business of how residents, well, do their business.

The council approved a $61,000 expenditure to pay for emergency repairs on a sanitary sewer lift station at 1950 Caruth Drive.

The repairs are required to both keep sewer service up and running and to prevent discharging untreated sewage into the ground.

On May 30, the pumps at the Georgetown area sanitary sewer system stopped working. This meant that collected sewer flows from that part of the system could not be transported to the wastewater treatment plant.

A contractor was called out to assess the situation and concluded that the city’s pumps experience frequent clogging due to the presence of “fibrous material and debris in the influent.”

In layman’s terms, that means flushable wipes being sent into the wastewater system were causing pumps to fail.

These wipes have a tendency to wrap themselves selves around the pump impeller until it can no longer run.

The contractor presented multiple options for correcting the problem, such as a debris basket that would require daily cleaning.

City staff ultimately went with the recommended option of submersible chopper pumps that are purportedly guaranteed not to clog. These pumps feature grinders that can help mitigate the issue by chopping up flushed wipes and other material before it enters the pump.

According to the contractor, the current lead time for the new pumps is approximately two months. That means permanent repairs may not be completed until August.

Once the Vaughan Chopper Pumps are installed, the contractor expressed confidence that the problem will be solved and that the city can expect “many years of reliable service.”

In the meantime, a temporary debris basket has been installed.

Funds for the repairs were reallocated from other planned sewer improvement projects.