Repairs from 2019 fire in sewer lift station completed

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Washburn main lift station slightly damaged, cause unknown

In August 2019, a fire broke out in the main lift station of the Washburn sewer system, and needed repairs were recently completed.

James Libertus, Washburn maintenance supervisor, said the process has been slow, but it is finished now.

“The cause of the fire was hard to pinpoint, and we are still unsure at this time,” he said. “Most of the damage was caused by heat inside the lift station. Several things needed repaired, and many plastic and rubber components were melted.”

In addition, the pump was damaged, which also had to go out for repairs.

“After welding to the pump to eliminate extra space around the impeller, it was functioning again,” he said. “In the meantime, we had an additional pump that continued to work for the lift station. It is always better to have two.”

There was never any interruption to the lift station’s functions.

“We have two lift stations, but this is the main lift station by the lagoon,” he said. “Either the extra pump worked or we pumped by hand.”

Repairs on the lift station were completed in early December.

“In terms of prevention, since we are unsure how the fire started, we added a vent to help prevent gases from building up,” he said. “The vent pipe has a blower that will run constantly to remove gases out the roof of the carport.

“While we don’t know that it was a build up of gases that caused the fire, this will eliminate that from happening again if it was the cause. Additionally, we added a fire extinguisher.”

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