Norwalk council faced with generator costs

Norwalk Council might have to fork over $87,000 more than planned to get two generators for the wastewater treatment system. In a short work session Tuesday night, Rick Brown, water and wastewater superintendent, told council his department had budgeted $36,000 to add generators for the lift stations on Jefferson Street and Gallup Avenue based on informal estimates. He found out after getting engineering estimates that the cost could be as high as $123,000.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

Norwalk Council might have to fork over $87,000 more than planned to get two generators for the wastewater treatment system.

In a short work session Tuesday night, Rick Brown, water and wastewater superintendent, told council his department had budgeted $36,000 to add generators for the lift stations on Jefferson Street and Gallup Avenue based on informal estimates.

He found out after getting engineering estimates that the cost could be as high as $123,000.

Brown told council members his department has used two portable generators since the late 1960s to pump sewage lift stations during power outages.

"We keep them maintained, but we don't have enough personnel to move them," he said. "It usually happens in the dead of night and only in one section of town."

Last year when most of the city experienced a power outage during the day, Brown said his department learned their two portable generators couldn't do the job.

"We physically couldn't get them across town because of the traffic," he said. While some of the city's 13 lift stations only need occasional help in a power outage, others need to be pumped out every couple of hours, he said.

The department decided putting permanent generators at two of the most high-maintenance locations, Jefferson Street and Gallup Avenue, would free up the department so the two existing portable units could serve the rest of the stations.

The $123,000 price tag includes using natural gas generators, which can sit lower than diesel ones; automatic transfer switches so they would automatically turn on without having staff make a trip; and landscaping or fencing to block the generators from homes in the areas.

Council will consider an ordinance authorizing the city to bid out new generators at next week's council meeting.

The city will also consider the following legislation next week:

Amending and supplementing the appropriations to cover more than $3,000 in snow removal costs for downtown after the March 8 storm and also to cover additional consulting fees incurred since the city does not currently have a public works director. Finance Director Diane Eschen estimated the city is spending about $5,800 a month in consulting fees.

An ordinance correcting typographical and other errors in the city's codified ordinances.