BY: NICK KOTSOPOULOS
WORCESTER — The city has awarded a $5.5 million contract to a Connecticut-based company to renovate and upgrade the antiquated facilities at its Lake Avenue wastewater pumping station.
The station, at 83 Lake Ave. adjacent to Lake Quinsigamond and south of the apartment towers on Lake Avenue, serves more than 20,000 residents and businesses in the city’s East Side.
It has been at that location since the 1930s, though it was rebuilt in 1952 and last upgraded in the 1970s, according to public works officials.
They said the intent of the project is to expand the station’s pumping capacity to minimize the potential of future sewage overflows into Lake Quinsigamond as well as improve storm water quality in that area.
C.H. Nickerson & Co. of Torrington, Conn., was awarded the contract for the project. Its bid came in about $1.5 million lower than what public works officials had originally estimated.
The company specializes in water and wastewater treatment facility constructions.
To increase the station’s pumping capacity, the contractor will be replacing the existing antiquated machinery, including turbine pumps and motors, with new, state-of-the-art equipment.
The new pumps and motors will be equipped with variable speed and frequency controls, which will allow workers to better control the flow of wastewater from the pumping station to the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District sewerage treatment plan in Millbury.
The project also includes reconfiguring the layout of the station’s pipe system, which was originally installed in 1952, enabling it to run more efficiently and increase the span of time between necessary equipment maintenance and upgrades.
Other upgrades to the pumping station include the replacement of current ultrasonic flow meters with an electromagnetic version that will allow for more accurate measurement of water flows.
There will also be upgrades to the facility’s electrical generator and HVAC system, as well as a new architectural design plan for the replacement of the station’s roof and roof fans.
“The upgrades we will install are critical to the pump station’s operations and will substantially help to improve the station’s efficiency,” said Jon Miller, president of C.H. Nickerson & Co.
He said the pump station will remain fully operational during the construction and customers will not see any disruption in service.
Mr. Miller said the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
The city has already received permission from the Conservation Commission to proceed with the project. It had to go before the Conservation Commission because the work will be done within the 100-foot buffer zone to Lake Quinsigamond.
The Lake Avenue facility is one of 28 sewage-pumping stations in the city; they service the more than 660 miles of sewer lines through run throughout the city.
More than 150 miles sewer were constructed before the year 1900, with some of the oldest sewers dating back to the mid-1800s.
Robert L. Moylan Jr., commissioner of public works and parks, said the city has invested more than $13 million over the past 20 years in its sewer system, including upgrades and renovations of wastewater pumping stations, in an attempt to minimize sewage overflows.