Imagine being just hours away from losing access to clean drinking water city wide. Toledo residents and thousands of others were in that position last August when a valve problem left the city with only 7 hours of water. That problem almost allowed bacteria to build up in the city's pipelines.
It could have led to a boil-advisory for more than 500,000 people for several months. Fortunately things were fixed in time, but what's being done long tern to prevent a water-catastrophe? The 13abc I-Team is looking into this.
When the water leaves Lake Erie, it comes here to the low pump station. On average, the pumps bring in 68 million gallons of water a day to be treated at the Collins Park Water Treatment plant. That's 26 billion gallons a year.
"We have a pretty stringent maintenance program but it does wear and we're at the point we need to do some major improvements," said Dave Leffler, the director of Plant Operations at the low pump station.
Improvements are needed because right now pumps 1 and 2 are not working. Pump 3 is keeping the city supplied, with pump 4 waiting just in case. The casing and the infrastructure itself are good, but the motors and large components need replaced. Fixes for pumps 1 and 2 are going to be in the neighborhood of half a million dollars total.
"if we do not upgrade, if we do not start doing what we need to do at the plant, we're going to have problems. We're at that point when we need to do something," said Dave Welch, the Director of Public Utilities.
Any fixes are going to cost you. How much is still up in the air? We may know after a master plan of Toledo's water needs is released .
"We wanted to get an idea from an outside independent engineering firm to come in and say here's what you need to do, here's how you have to do it, here's what it's going to cost," said Welch.
That should be released in a few weeks.