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Pump that helps deliver water to Sand Springs, Sapulpa fails

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A pump that helps deliver raw water to Sand Springs and Sapulpa has failed and is awaiting repair, City Manager Mike Carter told the City Council last week.

But the 200-horsepower, 3.18-million-gallon-per-day-capacity pump is the midsize of three pumps delivering water from the lake, so no special conservation or rationing is expected, he said.

“We’re OK right now. We’re pumping water. We have two other pumps,” Carter said. “But if we were to have another failure” while this pump is still out of service, “we could have to cut back on the usage in town.”

Pump No. 2 of the Skiatook Raw Water Conveyance System, which pumps water from Skiatook Lake to Sand Springs and Sapulpa, experienced an operational failure due to excessive vibration, Carter said.

Rectifying the situation requires the pump to be removed from the pump station to be assessed before the exact repairs needed are known, Carter said.

The estimated cost of repairs, to be completed by Ruhrpumpen of Tulsa, is $87,328, plus or minus 10% pending teardown and assessment, although Sand Springs’ share of that amount is estimated to be $52,397, or 60%, with Sapulpa paying the remaining 40%, or an estimated $34,931.

The division roughly equates to each city’s water use.

The expected repair time of 10 to 12 weeks led Sand Springs city officials to declare an emergency so that work on the project could commence immediately.

Sand Springs city staff members will present a resolution to the City Council, likely at its August meeting, for formal approval of the expenditures.

“It was something we didn’t feel could wait until the council meeting,” Carter said Thursday. “We don’t ever want to get into a situation where we didn’t act quickly enough.”

Although the pump failure is “concerning enough that we need to get it taken care of,” he said he isn’t terribly worried.

“If a second pump were to fail, we might have to conserve water, but that would be really rare,” he said. “That’s why we have three pumps.

“This is why we all pay for water,” Carter said. “It’s not free. It takes money to transport it and treat it.

“But good, clean water is a great difference between us and the rest of the world.”

The Sand Springs and Sapulpa municipal authorities, functioning as the Sand Springs & Sapulpa Joint Board, jointly own and operate the Skiatook Raw Water Conveyance System, an operating agreement that has existed for about 35 years.

Water is pumped from Skiatook Lake and delivered about 20 miles south to Sand Springs. From there, one line splits off to serve Sand Springs, and another line continues south to Sapulpa.

In August 2007, a malfunction in a Public Service Company of Oklahoma transmission line knocked out the power to the Skiatook Lake pump station, shutting it down, reports indicate.

Residents in Sand Springs and Sapulpa were asked to conserve water while utility crews worked to find another power source, according to Tulsa World stories from the time.

The outage lasted only about six hours, but not knowing that early on, officials in both cities took no chances and switched to contingency plans to keep the water flowing.

Then-City Manager Doug Enevoldsen told the World that Sand Springs turned to Shell Creek Lake for backup water and also had some available surplus from the city of Tulsa.

He said the Fire Department notified mutual-aid partners about the situation and that water tankers were brought in in case they were needed.

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