A power failure at the city’s downtown wastewater treatment plant earlier this month has prompted an emergency purchase of new gas monitoring equipment.
Gas monitors failed when the headworks building of the treatment plant lost power on the weekend of Feb. 13-14 forcing plant workers to use the city’s only two portable gas monitors.
Public Works Director Fred Buckenmeyer told the City Council this week that the workers weren’t in any danger, but he said the monitors that failed are 24 years old, are obsolete and the city has not been able to find replacement parts.
Buckenmeyer said that the headworks building is the first step in processing incoming sewage and so workers are exposed to any of the gasses connected with raw sewage and the gas monitors are needed.
The resolution okayed by the City Council said, “without monitors in service no one can enter the building without using one of the confined space gas meters to ensure the atmosphere in the room is safe for entry.”
The Council gave Buckenmeyer the okay to seek bids for new gas monitors, which he estimated would cost about $25,000.