Posted on

West Memphis Utility floats a loan to Public Works Dept.


City making muchneeded repairs to

flood pond West Memphis Public Works needed a $1,000,000 loan to repair and improve the city flood pond. West Memphis Utilities came to the rescue. Commissioners heard the need from Assistant Utilities Manager Ward Wimbish and wrote the check. Public Works must pay the utility back on the no-interest loan with payments of $200,000 over the next five years.

Assistant Utilities Manager Ward Wimbish indicated the unusually long time ground water remained up over the last few seasons served to undermine the pump station. He told commissioners the basis for the loan request.

'The pump station by the levee was put into service in 1991 as part of flood protection from storm water in the city,' said Wimbish. 'The arrangement for the facility has been that the city pays for the operation and the utility runs the station. When the facility was first built the utility contributed $1,000,000 to building it with the thought that if the streets were all flooded the water would have to run into our sewer lines forcing and inflow and infiltration problem. Its been running for 30 years and there are major problems with it.'

A sink hole developed at the pump station eroding the foundation around the control building.

Couplings on the huge discharge pipes at the station wore out and began leaking washing out an area around the building. The $1,000,000 estimate funded excavation of the pumps for inspection and redesigned coupling replacement.

'The high ground water made the issues worse and accelerated them,' said Wimbish. 'The discharge lines that go over the levee are leaking. The 57 inch pipes come of the levee and the wight of the pipe driving the pipe comes into the station and the connection there to absorb that and give the pipes a little bit of play. Everything moves.'

Wimbish compared the vibration to being stuck on an Interstate River bridge.

'As you sit there you can feel the bridge move,' said Wimbish. 'It's like that only on a smaller scale.

The old design is no longer feasible. The old coupling doesn't work well on spiral pie which is exactly the discharge line we have. It's since been redesigned, It took three months.'

Continued on Page 2 UTILITY (cont.)

Wimbish said the utility had apprised the St. Francis Levee District about the problem and the fix.

'It's been hard to get ahead of the problem with all the ground water there,' said Wimbish.

Wimbish outlined the scope of work and the costs fro commissioners as they considered the loan to the city.

Sand in the pond needed to be removed for the pumps to run efficiently.

Scans of the entire water works were set to reveal all the failures. Mud jacking special grout into any voids was prescribed as a remedy to fill cavities. Impellers were scheduled for inspection, cleaning and upgrades. The repair ticket for that part of the station rehabilitation amounted to $450,000.

The plan called for a new control building. All the pump controls feasible to be relocated will be installed in a new climate controlled buildings.

Because of the age of the building some control were set for replacement. The building will be moved.

The rebuild estimation amounted to another $150,000.

'The big unknown is evaluating the controls that will move to the new building,' said Wimbish. 'We have third party consultant that doesn't' represent an engineer company or a vendor for advise. Some of it will be an expansive upgrade to account for the rest of the $1,00,000 estimate.

Wimbish urged the utility commission to action.

'We have just enough time to do this before rainy season moves in early next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll Up