COPPERAS COVE — The city concluded a budget amendment last week to replace funds for an emergency purchase of a new pump station at its south wastewater treatment plant.
The treatment facility, which was built with five pump stations to handle the treatment of wastewater, had three pumps available with one pump in reserve during the city’s last major rain event May 24.
During the storm, the city had to activate all four pumps to prevent the plant from overflowing after receiving 1.7 inches of rain, according to city documents.
The fourth pump is normally kept off-line due to a bad rotating assembly and vibration, said Daryl Uptmore, Public Works director, in a memo to the Copperas Cove City Council. The third pump, which also normally doesn’t operate, has been losing prime and showing wear.
“Fortunately, although vibrating excessively, the pump allowed us to maintain flow coming into the plant,” Uptmore said about the fourth pump. “We were able to avoid a discharge due to the fact that our fourth pump was available. The fourth pump could fail at any given time. It was taken off line for good reason.”
The incident was an example of how the plant doesn’t have a backup pump in case of another pump failure, stated city documents.
Discharge from the plant could result in multiple fines from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality and could affect public health.
The council approved the emergency purchase of a fourth pump in early July for about $12,000 without funds being allocated in the budget.