Hogansville City Council has extended its line of credit to pay for two new pumps at its sewage sprayfield, but replacement of the failing equipment is still up to four months away.
City Manager James Woods said the annual line of credit was extended from $300,000 to up to $400,000 to pay for the pumps, which will cost up to $28,000 each.
The sprayfield only has three pumps and Woods said the extra money is needed in case the third pump fails and needs replaced.
“We’re dealing with 20-year-old pumps that have a 15-year lifespan,” he said.
City workers found one of the pumps had failed when they went to replace a motor on it. A second pump failed a few days later.
The city normally keeps its line of credit for the time between the start of the fiscal year in July and late November, when the first property taxes come in. It has no cash on hand and uses the line of credit, which is paid back with tax money, for emergency expenses.
Woods said the official bank documents extending the line of credit should be ready by Friday. Replacing the pumps, however, will take longer.
“We are getting cost estimates, but at least one company I know of will take at least 16 weeks’ lead time,” he said.
Woods said if the third pump goes down, he doesn’t know how much it would cost to bring in a portable pump and hose floats to keep the sprayfield operational.
“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” he said, adding that the cost – whatever it is – would be less than what the state Environmental Protection Division would charge the city in fines in the case of a spill or non-treatment.
The sewage sprayfield, Hogansville’s method for disposing of its treated waste water, has been a thorn in the city’s side almost since it was built. Hogansville currently is under a consent order with EPD to make repairs to its sewage system and build a new sewage treatment plant, which would discontinue use of the sprayfield and instead send the treated water into Yellow Jacket Creek. The state has given the city a deadline of 2014 to build the plant, but Woods said Monday the city likely will ask to extend that time line.
“I think we will be able to show we have made considerable progress,” he said.
The city has spent about $850,000 in recent years to improve its sewage collection system through loans and grants it has received and found the broken sprayfield pump during routine maintenance, Woods said.
“We have been proactive instead of reactive,” he said.