Joe P. Asher
Issues with local water service took center stage during a meeting of the Cumberland City Council on Tuesday.Chris Obradovich, water and sewer plant supervisor, updated the council on the status of the water treatment plant.
“That pump that’s leaking — that’s my biggest issue right now,” said Obradovich.
Obradovich explained that should the primary pump fail, there is currently no secondary pump available.
“It’s a dire situation,” Obradovich explained.
Obrodovich asserted the lack of a second pump is not the only issue that needs to be addressed.
“The conditions in the pump house are not good,” stated Obradovich. “That water in the floor’s not good.”
According to Obradovich, the biggest problem facing the water plant is the possibility that the only pump could fail, which could lead to a situation where there would be no water available.
Council member Norma Bowyer advised the council there have been ongoing problems with the water system for several years.
“This mess with this water’s been going on since 2005,” stated Bowyer. “When Carl (Mayor Hatfield) first took office we had a daylight meeting…and we was right down there ready to have the state take over the water.”
Several council members inquired if there had been any fines levied due to the state of the water plant. Obradovich brought the council up to date on the situation.
“We are currently under an agreed order over the water plant,” stated Obradovich. “An agreed order comes about as the violations pile up and aren’t addressed. So, an agreed order is a legal document that has stipulated penalties.”
Obradovich went on to explain what action is required to comply with the order.
Recently appointed council member Yvonne Gilliam questioned Obradovich regarding progress on repairing the water system.
“Has anything been done since they started, since they put us on this time frame?” Gilliam asked. “Has anything been improved?”
“We’ve made an attempt or two with that pump out there,” answered Obradovich. “As far as the floculator, the other issue is city personnel, and actually contractors at the moment can’t get in there because of labor board issues. We can’t enter confined spaces.”
Obradovich explained another of the issues involves certification, the city would need to have employees undergo special training in order to complete some of the repairs.
“It’s a OSHA regulated thing,” explained Obradovich. “It’s spaces that, you know, can present some type of danger and injury, even death.”
Hatfield suggested the city accept bids from professional companies that are already certified to do such work in order to get the problems repaired.
“We need to get bids from these professional corporations that can do this work, … but you’re talking about some big bucks there,” stated Hatfield.
Council member Carolyn Elliot pointed out that the water issue should be a top priority.
“We’ve got to get a hold of the water situation, there’s no question about it,” stated Elliot. “We don’t have a city if we don’t have water.”
Council member Charles Raleigh expressed concern over the the expediency of the repairs.
“We can’t sit here and wait any longer, we’ve actually got to get the money and get this done,” stated Raleigh. “I don’t care what we gotta do, we have to fix this.”
According to Hatfield, the city is expecting to have some estimates for repair of the water plant available as early as next week.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com