The repair bill at the Maryville water treatment plant resulting from a major pipe break early last month is in — and the work isn't coming cheap.
Fortunately, according to City Manager Greg McDanel, all of the nearly $81,000 cost, except for a $1,000 deductible, should be covered by the city's insurance provider, the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association.
Failure of a six-inch L-shaped fitting late in the morning on Sunday, Feb. 24, flooded a portion of the plant with several thousand gallons of water and caused pressure to fall in parts of Maryville.
Fearing possible back-flow from toilets and other fixtures, City Hall issued a three-day boil advisory that lasted until lab tests ensured local tap water was safe to drink.
The mishap resulted in damage to several electrical and mechanical systems at the plant and forced PeopleService, the contracted vendor that runs the facility, to manually set water levels for a series of filter membranes installed a couple of years ago at a cost of more than $2 million. The membranes could have sustained serious damage had technicians failed to keep them properly submerged.
In a report to the council this week, McDanel said the plant was briefly knocked off line following the pipe break, but that rapid action by PeopleService staff restored production to around 50 percent of capacity.
PeopleService Region Manager Steve Guthrie said Tuesday that water production is now back to approximately 95 percent, and that the last piece of the repair operation will be installation of a new 4,000-gallon polyethylene "backpulse" tank, which stores treated water used to clean the membranes.
The old tank cracked on March 3, probably due to changes in water pressure caused by the initial break. The new tank is being manufactured locally by Houston Polytank in Hopkins.
Guthrie told the City Council Monday that tank installation has proved problematic. Since the plant was apparently built around the old tank, there is no easy way to remove it and get the new tank inside without shutting down the facility or expensively modifying the new tank's shape.
To get around the difficulty, the city has hired Maryville-based White Cloud Engineering & Construction to install a new roll-up door on the south side of the facility.
Other equipment damaged by the pipe failure included electric motors, pressure sensors, solenoids, computerized gauges and fuses.
In addition to repairing or replacing the ruined gear, Guthrie said a number of plant upgrades are being made to make sure a similar incident does not reoccur. Those upgrades include installing new valves and about 120 feet of pipe near where the breakage occurred.
"We'll have a better water plant when this is over," Guthrie said.