Wakefield talks about aging equipment.
Written by Jesse Baroka on September 15, 2020
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield City Council took action to update its sewer and electric systems Monday. Plagued by failures at its main sewer lift station, which again failed during the most recent major storm in the area, the council purchased a new pump drive for the station, as well as agreeing to purchase a new master control panel. In a city with an aging infrastructure, one of the newer items is the site of multiple failures. Repeated efforts to repair and upgrade a system that is about two decades old have left the city hamstrung, as there are no drawings and specifications available for reference. The control panel, a $38,000 item, is a case in point. “The panel is not up to code,” said engineer Paul Ludwig, who was on hand to answer council questions. “We have power running that we don’t know how to shut off.” Failures of the panel have resulted in sanitary sewer overflows, increased labor costs and sewer back-ups within the community, said city manager Robert Brown in a written report to the council. The pump drive item is $10,433. It allows the pump to operate at the correct rate. Brown said the city has funds in its coffers to cover the cost. The council agreed to pay $74,000 to eliminate one of five circuits at its electrical substation, for a savings $18,000. Brown said the city doesn’t need all five circuits. The substation suffered damage during an October 2019 electrical storm. Again, there are funds within the utility coffers to cover the costs. The council agreed to name veteran firefighter Michael Singleton the new fire chief, replacing the retired chief, Lou Boetto. By charter, the council approves the appointment, which was made by Brown after a vote by the fire department to put forward Singleton as its new chief. The department has named Jim Tarro, another veteran, as assistant chief, with Robert Lane to serve as secretary-treasurer. More detail and comment in this weeks Wakefield News / Bessemer Pick and Axe.