Power source to pump station needs replacing

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 8:30am
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An electrical wire just under 1,000 feet long that connects the Old Harbor pump station to the Wastewater Treatment facility has been buried underground for more than 40 years, and recent testing has shown the wire to be deteriotated enough to warrant replacement. The question is whether the wire can be replaced without digging it up, which would be much less expensive, or whether a contractor would have to go into the ground to replace it. Either way, Sewer Company Supt. Chris Blane said at the most recent joint meeting of the Water and Sewer Commissions that it needs to be replaced before next year’s summer season.

“If there was to be a failure, catastrophic is the word I’d use,” said Blane. 

Town engineer Jim Geremia wrote a letter to the Sewer Commission stating that the testing on the conduit had been completed in early November. “The test results indicate the wire insulation on the two parallel feeders to the pump station’s motor control center has deteriorated to the point where they need to be replaced,” Geremia wrote. “It is our recommendation that the wires between the Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Old Harbor Pump Station motor control center be replaced to avoid complete insulation failure and circuit short circuit.” Geremia further stated that the insulation on one of the feeders “has deteriorated enough that it is no longer capable of its original listed 600V insulation rating...”

“My question is, how much?” asked Board member Steve Draper.

“That’s the million dollar question,” said Blane. “Whether we have to replace the wire without any digging, or if we have to dig in the right of way, it could get very expensive very fast.”

One of the issues is also the fact that the wire cuts across the property where the Ocean View Foundation pavilion is located, and Kim Gaffett, who is the naturalist for The Nature Conservancy, which absorbed the OFV earlier this year, said that long-awaited upgrades to the Pavilion were now dependent on when the wiring project could be done. “We’re interested in the timing,” said Gaffett. Blane apologized, but said that he couldn’t say when the project would get underway.

Blane also said the Sewer Company had been awarded grant monies for the project, but the question now is whether that is enough, given that the scope of the project is not yet known.