By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — With the two Varney Point sewer pumps failing, selectmen gave permission to Public Works Director Peter Nourse and Underwood Engineers to create a design and bid specifications for their replacement.
According to UE President Keith Pratt the two pumps are 30 years old and at the end of their useful lifespan. He said each was designed to pump 125 gallons per minute; however, a recent test showed the "left" one pumping at 34 gallons per minute and the "right" one pumping at 100 gallons per minute.
He said the town was able to get the left one back to 100 gallons per minute by replacing the impellers.
The two pumps and houses are part of the system that prevents raw sewage from getting into Lake Winnipesaukee. The dual stations pump the sewage into the Winnipesaukee Sewage Basin, which is transmitted to the wastewater treatment plant in Franklin.
Key deficiencies include no separation of the wet well from the manholes to stop gasses from getting in the pump house. The alarms don't work and when the generators work, gas gets into the pump house.
Pratt said overhangs on the "right" pump make it difficult to clean the wet well, and the pumps needs a 3-phase electrical system, one of which recently failed.
Pratt gave selectmen three options for repairing the houses and replacing the well.
The first, which was recommended by Nourse and Underwood, is to rehabilitate the "guts" of the pump system and do little with the house. He said they would fix the overhang on the "right" side pump and shift the house on the "left" pump house so it is not sitting on top of one of the manholes. This option would cost the sewer district $775,000.
The second option is to scrap the stations and replace the wet wells. A cost of $1.1 million eliminated this from consideration.
The third option is to put in a new station with submersible wells and put the piping values in separate stations. Selectmen did not like the idea of submersible wells and this option was eliminated. This option would have cost $825,000.
Town administrator Scott Dunn said there is $321,000 in the capital reserve and $561,000 in the sewer fund itself. He also said there is the possibility that there could be a state grant that would pay for the generators.
"I think we can do this without raising rates or going to the taxpayers," Dunn said.
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