A representative from AES Northeast spoke to the Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees during Tuesday night's regular meeting about the status of the NIMO pump station near Lake Colby Beach.
Todd Hodgson explained that the village hired AES to perform an evaluation of the lift station following a sewage leak last year that led to a fine and consent order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The village already paid $1,500 to DEC and must meet a Feb. 28 deadline for an order on consent.
In March 2010, a failure at the lift station triggered a sanitary sewer overflow - causing about 6,000 gallons of untreated wastewater to spill onto Lake Colby Beach.
Some of that sewage ended up in the lake itself.
As part of the consent order, DEC required the village to have an engineer perform an evaluation of the lift station.
Hodgson told trustees about several problems currently plaguing the pump station, which serves numerous neighborhoods in the vicinity of the Adirondack Medical Center.
"There was a check valve that was plumbed incorrectly resulting in a build-up of debris, the pumps did not adequately keep up with existing flows, the wet well was too small for incoming flows, and the discharge of an upstream pump station overwhelmed this pump station," he said. "And there's been an increase in development upstream from the station."
Engineers also learned that the Upper Broadway sewer capacity has several issues - Hodgson said that's the discharge point for the NIMO lift station.
Hodgson says the pump station is responsible for more properties than it currently can handle.
The village has already installed a check valve at the station, effectively stopping any overflow. The pumps have also been replaced with a higher head pump, which is capable of handling current flows.
In the long-term, Hodgson says the village has three options: replace the entire NIMO lift station; upgrade the Lake Colby pump station, which feeds into the NIMO lift; and replacing the force main along the highway.
All three options are expensive and extensive, Hodgson says, costing between $1.5 and $1.8 million.
In discussions with Village Manager John Sweeney, AES looked into a "force account" project aimed at decreasing costs. Hodgson called that option the most cost effective at about $515,000.
"A force accountant is when the village utilizes their own staff and resources to perform an installation of this nature," he said.
DEC has reviewed a report submitted by the village and AES Northeast, Hodgson said, adding that the agency supports the recommended course of action.
But a few comments must be addressed by Feb. 28, Hodgson said.
"One is a maintenance schedule for the check valve - we've discussed that with DEC and are ready to reply," he said. "Also we need mapping of the surrounding manholes with grades of all sewer lines - the state would like a more definite move toward a final design, so they're looking for some mapping to be done. And also design improvements to the NIMO pump station and surrounding infrastructure, as well as a schedule of improvements."
AES has drafted a schedule of improvements for repairs and submitted it to DEC.
Hodgson adds that the project has been scheduled in three phases, lowering the cost to the village.
The first phase of the project would focus on increasing hydraulic capacity for pump rates along the Upper Broadway sewer lines - that phase is projected to cost about $246,000.