Water System Pump Failure Forces City of Jamestown To Declare State of Emergency

The failure of the pumps which draw water from the raw water intake at the city lake last week forced the City of Jamestown to declare a State of Emergency.

In a special called meeting of the Jamestown City Council on Friday, January 24, the council members were joined by Tom Bennett, the city’s engineer, Water Plant Supervisor Chris Ramsey and others to gather information, develop plans for alleviating the problem, and to issue a statement to the public concerning the situation.

Mayor Ryan Smith said that over the previous two weeks, the city had experienced a series of problems, starting with the extremely cold weather which caused a lot of leaks that had resulted in the loss of a lot of water, which had forced the pumps at both the raw water intake at the city lake and at the filtration plant to run practically non-stop.

The primary pump at the raw water intake at the city lake gave out and essentially came apart, flooding the pumphouse which also contained the electronic control mechanisms.

In order to keep the water system running, emergency repairs were made by taking a smaller pump from the water treatment plant to the raw water intake, and although the system is operating, it is only at about half the normal capacity.

Mayor Smith explained that claims had been made to the city’s insurance carrier, but it takes time to get claims approved, and in order to get the situation fixed, it would take some sizeable expenditures for equipment.

Mayor Smith further explained:  “We took the high service pump at the water plant to the raw water intake, so we need to fix the problem created at the water plant.  We only have one pump at the intake now, and are using two smaller pumps at the water plant.”

“Our primary concern now is trying to keep all the tanks filled.  Should we experience a power failure, we would be in a very unfavorable situation, since we are limited in our ability to keep the service up to the level we need to maintain.”

He further stated that he had already made a request to the insurance company to allow the city to bring their engineer on board, and was waiting for an ok from them.

He also commended the water department personnel for their diligence and dedication during the crisis.

He then introduced Tom Bennett of Bennett & Associates, who serves as the city’s engineer.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.