Marion needs new water sampler

Device will replace old equipment as part of project

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

Marion will be buying a new water sampler and making several other improvements at its water plant. The city council gave the go ahead to spend $12,400 to purchase a composite water sampling machine. The new sampler was needed because the city is now discharging its wastewater directly to the Mississippi River instead of sewer ponds. Marion built an 18-inch pipeline down Gammon Road to get its wastewater into compliance with permitted levels. A composite sampling machine collects water samples for testing based on a set time or flow interval. Water Manager Jim Shempert said the old sampling machine was 10 years old and required someone to physically draw water samples four times a day. “The old one was made to pull up a gravity sample,” Shempert said. “This new system is on a pump so it takes a different configuration. This machine will take a sample without anybody having to be there.” The water and sewer committee recommended the city waive competitive bidding to allow Shempert to order the new sampler. “There are only a few vendors who offer this type of equipment,” Mayor Frank Fogleman said. “So the recommendation was to waive the bidding and make arrangements to go ahead and buy it.” In other related business, the city council decided to get bids to build a shed over the new water pumps and to get bids to build a fence around the city’s water lagoons. Shempert recommended the city build a metal building to enclose the new water pumps to keep them from freezing. “I’m a little concerned about the pipes freezing,” Shempert said. “There is a valve on there, a water hammer that keeps it from jarring the lines and coming loose.” The building is expected to cost about $10,000 to $11,000. The fence is estimated to cost about $18,000. “We built an additional pond there. So we are going to request bids to build a fence around all four ponds,” Fogleman said. Councilman Kelly O’Neal objected to the city having to spend the money claiming that the water sampler and building over the pumps should have been included in the original design specs by Bond Engineering. “We paid them to oversee all of this,” O’Neal said. “They had years to study this. They knew our water sampler was ten years old. They should have known that what we had wouldn’t work. And now we are having to pay for this. We shouldn’t have to pay for this.” Fogleman said the city can use money from the loan it took out to build the pipeline and other water projects to pay for these upgrades. “That can come out of our loan proceeds,” Fogleman said. “It doesn’t impact our finances.”

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