Water equipment causing problems in Woodstock

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013 5:42 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 24, 2013 12:12 a.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – It’s been a bad couple of months for the city’s water-related equipment.

Between a malfunctioning softener at the city’s water treatment plant on Seminary Avenue and a worn-out grinder at the northside wastewater treatment facility, the city could be down about $100,000.

This week, the city waived the competitive bid process to quickly resolve the water treatment plant issue, an early expenditure in the new fiscal year that could itself cost the city an unexpected $60,000.

“We’re taking it out of the water treatment plant maintenance fund, and what we’ll do is as we go through the year, we’ll look at projects we can delay that have been approved in the budget,” City Manager Roscoe Stelford said.

Softeners contain “resin” – charged particles resembling tiny glass beads, which trap other particles that cause water hardness. Employees removed one of the softeners from service earlier this month after discovering its resin had spilled out.

The city put in two “worst-case scenario” requests to resolve the issue. One contractor will clean out and inspect the softener. That could cost nearly $30,000.

The other half of the project comes with a maximum cost of about $33,000 and involves buying the materials needed to fix the machine.

Stelford said the city rarely has these “emergency repairs,” such as at the water treatment plant, where a piece of equipment vital to operation fails.

At the wastewater plant, a grinder last serviced six years ago recently gave out.

The machine’s cutters had become dull, and the manufacturer determined the machine was in need of about $29,000 in repairs.

Stelford said that once revenues and expenses from last fiscal year are totaled, it might reveal enough money to cover the cost of that repair. If not, the city will dip into its reserves.

“Which is what they’re there for – emergency purposes,” he said.

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