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Albany commissioners hear update on Flint River sewer overflow

90,000 gallons of sewage flowed into the Flint River after a lift station equipment failure May 20. / Mary Green

More than three weeks after 90,000 gallons of sewage flowed into the Flint River after a lift station equipment failure, some of that equipment is still being repaired.

Representatives from Jacobs Engineering Group, the contractor that maintains and operates Albany's sewer lift stations, spoke to city commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

Jacobs Vice President Andy Appleton told commissioners the overflow was caused by "multiple equipment failures."

He said when one system fails, it stresses other systems to the point of failure as well. Appleton said in this case, the system that notifies when there is a failure also failed.

Appleton said the pumps that failed were installed 22 years ago and are beyond "their useful life," which he said is around 10 to 15 years, though maintenance and repair work can extend that life.

He said one of the pumps will be returned to Albany on Friday after the company decided to repair it instead of completely replace it.

"Like the repairs on your car, there are some things you can repair for less expensive and it extends the life just as well as replacing them, so we're just trying to be as responsible as we can with the rate payers' money and prudent with the investments for the city," Appleton said.

City Manager Sharon Subadan said after they tested the water following the overflow, "There is nothing to suggest the water is deteriorated."

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