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Princeton Water plant: Not ready yet

Princeton preparing for spring, flooding concerns

PRINCETON — The city of Princeton continues to wait for its new $22 million water treatment plant to go online.

At this week’s meeting of the Princeton City Council, Commissioner Joel Quiram asked for an update on the project, which he said is about four months behind online schedule and is probably the largest capital project in the city’s history.

Princeton Water Department Superintendent Mike Eggers said there are still some issues with the SCADA system, which is like the computerized control system and the “brains of the operation” for the plant’s equipment.

The operation of the new plant is very technical and complicated, Eggers said. The bugs have to be worked out before the city commits to going online. There has been a subcontractor at the plant working to get everything up and going, but that person has not been on site every day, Eggers said.

Though the plant is getting closer every day to going online, Eggers could not give a date when that would happen. As one issue is resolved, another one comes up. Some issues are intermittent. But still, he’s confident the plant will run to satisfaction and consistently once the issues are resolved.

Princeton City Manager Jeff Clawson said the city is withholding a final $300,000 payment to general contractor Vissering Construction, who hired the subcontractor.

In other business, Commissioner Ray Mabry brought up his concern about the coming spring and what the frozen ground and melting snow could mean for city streets and residents. Princeton will go from concerns about snow removal to concerns about rain, the melting snow and possible flooding, he said.

Thanks to the city’s new pump program, the city does have 12 pumps serviced and ready to go, but there are no back-up pumps if needed, Mabry said. His recommendation is for the city to buy a couple additional pumps at a cost of $3,000 each, to have as backups.

Clawson said he will look at the city budget to see if there is money for the purchase. Also, with some of the street work and improvements done last fall, the city may be able to use some of the original 12 pumps as backups, he said.

After further discussion, the council directed Clawson to go ahead with the purchase of a couple backup pumps, if the money is in the budget.

Mayor Keith Cain encouraged residents to also consider their own alternative steps, such as sandbags, to safeguard their property from possible flooding this spring. The frozen ground doesn’t help with all the melting snow, no matter how many pumps the city has because the water will come across the surface of the frozen ground. Though rain is expected in the next few days, the cooler temperatures which will follow should slow down the thawing, the mayor said.

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