Sherman is planning some emergency repairs to keep the city’s waters flowing.

The Sherman City Council recently approved emergency repairs for pumps and control boxes at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, and to the Dorchester 10 Trinity Water Well. The former is related to the extensive flooding the city received in early August, while the latter will be important when the city’s water treatment plant shuts down at the beginning of 2018 for a planned expansion.

“About three weeks ago in the middle of August, we had a series of intense rain events coming back-to-back in the city,” Director of Utilities Mark Gibson said of the storms that dropped nearly 12 inches of rain on the city during the third week of August. “This resulted in quite a bit of a large volume coming to the wastewater plant at one time. Combined with this large flow, we had several electrical interruptions both from the power and from lightning. It upset our programming on our controls on several of the equipment out there.”

Gibson explained as a result of those power interruptions, the wastewater plant’s programming was terminated and the pumps were not able to ramp up with the flow. And they got behind on their pumping capacity.

“And of course, by that time it was almost too late,” he said. “We had some of our pumps were shorted out with the rising waters getting into the controls.”

Gibson said his staff was able to get half of the pumps operating on a marginal basis, but the emergency repair request was needed to get the remainder repaired as the pumps are essential to the plant’s operation. City staff said under normal conditions, the repairs could take up to four months. Gibson told the council he’d never seen the city experience something like this before.

“This was kind of a perfect storm of events,” Gibson said.

With the emergency designation, the repairs are expected to take four to six weeks to complete and cost no more than $100,000, with funding for the work coming from the city’s utility fund. The city’s director of utilities told the council only one of the four pumps to be replaced is outdated.

“The pumps that are out there, the ones that will be repaired are about five years old,” Gibson said. “Three of them were fairly new pumps.”

For the Dorchester 10 Trinity Water Well, Gibson said he wasn’t sure why its pump failed, but said its repair is imperative to maintain the city’s groundwater supply capability.

“Dorchester 10 Trinity Water Well is one of our major producers in our well field,” Gibson said. “We don’t know if it’s the motor or if it’s the pump itself, but we need to pull it, inspect it and repair it. It becomes critical in that on Jan. 1, our water treatment plant is going to be taken down so we can do work on the clear wells inside the plant as part of the expansion project.”

The $27,164,425 expansion of the city’s Water Treatment Plant will double its daily capacity and see the installation of a membrane filtration system to update the facility’s filtering technology. The expansion will allow the plant to increase its water treatment capacity from 10 million gallons per day to 20 million gallons, which city officials have said will benefit Sherman and the surrounding areas.

“We’ll be operating solely on groundwater for about three months,” Gibson said of when the plant goes offline for the expansion work. “So it’s imperative we get this well back up and running so we’ll have an adequate supply of groundwater during this period.”

The emergency repairs request was made because the normal process could take four to six months if no problems were encountered. The emergency designation will allow Sherman to meet that Jan. 1 deadline by having the work finished in approximately two months.

Because both projects are to be completed on an expedited basis, the city is foregoing the formal bid process and contacting contractors to obtain the costs to get the well working again. City staff said the well repairs are expected to cost no more than $150,000 with funding to come from the city’s utility fund.

Both requests for emergency repairs were approved unanimously by the council, though council members Shawn Teamann and Pam Howeth were both absent and the at large, Place 1 seat had not yet been filled following former council member Kevin Couch’s resignation from the position.