NORTH WEBSTER — Members of the Lakeland Sewer Regional District board met for what may be one of several special meetings during the next few months as the $28 million project continues to develop.
During the special meeting Tuesday, May 10, at the North Webster Community Center the board was accompanied by four staff members from Crane Pumps and Systems, the selling company of the district’s Barnes sewer pumps. Crane lined up across from the LRSD board members who fired off questions about recent pump specification failures.
During the recent months of installing grinder systems and pumps into the large in-ground basins, it was determined some of the type one stations (meant for smaller amounts of flow) would not slide into their channels into the ground. DLZ, the engineering company in charge of the project, halted the installation of these until the issue could be resolved.
Ed Dunn, regional sales manager of Crane Pumps and Systems, led the charge in answering the questioned outlined by board members. Dunn addressed the board, letting the group know the design failure was an issue of minimum and maximum tolerances in clearance in the station basins.
In the manufacturing process of the type one grinder station, there is a certain tolerance on the dimensions of the product that caused issues when being placed into the ground.
In order to remedy the situation, Crane addressed two issues that stemmed from four total areas of design. The stainless steel brackets that slide the grinder into place are located on the top and bottom of the equipment and caused clearance issues in some cases. For some of the stations, the issue stemmed from a horizontal plumbing pipe for the discharge connection or from a gasket at the inlet pipe coming from the customer’s property.
In any of the four situations, Crane presented two solutions that can be utilized simultaneously to remedy the problem. If the brackets were the issue, an airbag was placed inside the basis and inflated enough to bend the stainless steel bars and flex them enough to create the necessary clearance. If the plumbing issue prevented the grinder from smoothly going into the ground on the c-channels, the length of the plumbing nipple was shortened by one-half inch to allow clearance. In some cases, both remedies were utilized. Dunn quoted the amount of grinder repairs at 269, with 30 additional stations still to be inspected.
The board expressed concerns about numerous issues, including the stainless steel brackets flexing back to the original shape or the fiberglass basins rupturing over time. Board treasurer Mike DeWald questioned the possibility of the issue reappearing after 10, 15 or 20 years of time. “This really concerns me,” said DeWald.
The board wanted to know how long Crane would stand behind their repairs, requesting the company extend its five-year warranty to something more substantial. Walt Erndt, vice president and general manager of the Municipal Group said the team would take the idea back to the president and present an option to the board by Friday, May 13. The board and Crane representatives agreed the warranty would cover all grinder stations in the project, not just those that had been determined to be problematic.
The board set a tentative date for an additional special meeting to approve the proposal for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at the North Webster Community Center.