WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Pump Failure = Macomb Water Problems

Apr 26, 2013

*Friday update - The water conservation order has been lifted, and the precautionary boil order has also been lifted, as of Friday morning.*

A water pump unique to Macomb’s treatment plant failed, leading the city to ask residents to conserve water usage and to boil water used for food preparation and drinking.

“Each (reverse osmosis water) system is custom built for the municipality it’s designed for,” said Mayor Mike Inman. “The dynamics of this pump are designed solely for use with our system.”

Mayor Mike Inman, Public Workers Director Jason Bainter, and McDonough County ESDA Director Dan Kreps (left to right) during a midday news conference Wednesday
Credit Rich Egger

There is a backup pump, but it failed recently and was sent about ten days ago to the manufacturer in Michigan for repairs.

The manufacturer flew an engineer to Macomb Wednesday to make repairs to the pump at the plant. Inman said the firm has also agreed to speed up repairs to the pump sent to it by the city.

In the meantime, Inman is urging residents to conserve water usage, though there is no imminent danger of running out.  He said the city normally uses 2.2 million gallons per day.

A boil order also remains in effect until further notice. Inman said in addition to the technical failures at the water plant, the city is dealing with heavy rainfall amounts coupled with run-off into Spring Lake, which is Macomb’s water source.

He said the city is seeing much more than the normal amount of turbidity (cloudiness) in its water samples.

“We usually see 7 to 30 NTU’s – that’s a measurement by which turbidity is gauged,” Inman said.

“We’re seeing 1,300 NTU’s coming through our water, and that’s a direct result of the volume of rain and run-off we got from this last storm.”