By Beth David, Editor
The Acushnet Selectboard heard from School Department officials and public works officials about problems with the school’s pumping station for wastewater.
The pump has been struggling to stay working for months, but officials have been trying to keep it going with patchwork and Bandaid solutions until the town’s Comprehensive Waste Management Plan is finished.
Then the electrical panel shorted out in September, and a few days ago, the pump just stopped working.
Steve Donovan, Superinendent of Acushnet Schools, told the Selectboard that the school department had believed the pump would make it to the next Town Meeting, when they could ask for money to replace it.
Dan Menard of the public works department, said an additional complication is that the school’s pump is different than the other pumps in town, so he does not have parts for it.
“This is an oddball,” said Mr. Menard, noting that the lines were also a different size. “It’s the way it was done back in the day.”
He said the old pump needs to be replaced, but the panel also needs to be replaced. Nothing is compatible with anything else in the system.
“It’s not just the pump,” said Mr. Menard, it’s also the electrical panel and piping.
So instead of a $10,000 part, it could be more than $100,000. It is costing the town $400 a day when the pump is not working.
The board kicked around various ideas with school officials and Mr. Menard before decided to hold off on any action until after a professional company comes in to check for a blockage.
Mr. Menard said they thought they had the problem fixed, when the pump just stopped working again. He said a blockage seems to be the only answer.
“We’re still looking at our options,” said Town Administrator Brian Noble. “We have very limited options.”
Mr. Noble said the town could use money from the sewer enterprise funds, but they may also be able to combine some school department maintenance funds with sewer funds to share the costs.
Selectboard member Kevin Gonsalves said he wished the board had known about the problem sooner.
Mr. Donovan said they thought they had it under control, then…
“It failed big time today,” he said.
Mr. Menard and school officials were getting a company in to look at the pump this week. They will work with Mr. Noble to figure out a plan to keep the pump going until funds can be appropriated at Town Meeting to replace it.
They will report back to the Selectboard at a future meeting.
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