New motor mostly installed for downed water pump

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The brand new $43,000 motor being installed at the C.R. Feaster Water Treatment Plant in Lewisville, which will send water out to residents for the forseeable future. (Photo courtesy City of Lewisville)

Update 7/27: Marvin said the motor is installed, tested and operational. A third party is currently installing the supervisory software, but the motor can be run manually until that is complete.

Original story: The 10 MGD (millions of gallons per day) water pump that blew its motor last week, potentially putting Lewisville in a position where it would need to purchase more water from Dallas Water Utilities, has been mostly repaired.

Public services director Keith Marvin said the new motor has been installed and is undergoing testing, but still needs to be integrated into the city’s supervisory control and data acquisition system.

“While we had hoped to have it running 100 percent by now, we are comfortable that it is here and mostly operational,” he said.

The new motor cost an estimated $43,000.

Even with the pump down, the city never lost any capacity to distribute water to residents. The concern was that with one pump down, other pumps could not be cycled off, putting them at greater risk of failure. This concern drove city officials to call for water conservation over the weekend and the beginning of the week.

If necessary, the city could have purchased more water from Dallas Water Utilities, but this would have had permanent financial consequences. According to the city contract with DWU, a 30-year contract that was last renewed in 2016, DWU must maintain a certain amount of clean water ready to deliver to Lewisville per day. Lewisville pays $280,458 a year per MGD that DWU keeps for it, currently nine million gallons. If the city had needed to ask for another million gallons per day, taxpayers would have been on the hook for another $280,458 for at least the next five years, whether or not the city ever needed that water again.

Marvin said it was likely the city would eventually move to 10 MGD after further development in East Lewisville and Castle Hills.

While that danger seems to have passed, further water restrictions may still go into effect. Mayor Rudy Durham released a public letter Monday saying that he was considering moving to Stage 2 water conservation restrictions. While the timing may have made it seem related to the downed pump, Durham said he was worried about water consumption outside of that.

“The pump is not our greatest concern right now. Machines break down so you have to be prepared, and we were prepared for this,” he wrote. “I’m more worried about the dramatic unsustainable increase in water consumption we’ve seen during July.”

A look at the City of Lewisville metrics website details his concerns. The city’s gallons of water used per capita has been increasing by about 30 gallons per month since March, with July 2018 currently sitting at 227.96 gallons per capita. This number, and June’s 199.4 gallons per capita for that matter, are far ahead of the August and September 2017 numbers, months in which Lewisville pumped 173.42 and 183.95 gallons per capita, respectively.

This increased usage could be related to increased heat. All of this comes after a string of several 100 plus degree days in a row, one that is expected to continue until a stormfront arrives next week.

If the mayor does enact stage 2 water restrictions, residents can expect to see their irrigation schedules restricted to just once a week. The city already limits residential irrigation to once per week under stage 1 restrictions, and it is limited to between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. during the summer as well.

Stage 2 includes several other possible restrictions as well, including prohibiting commercial car washing between 2 and 6 p.m. and restricting the serving of water at restaurants, unless by customer request. The full list of possibilities can be found in Section 16-252 of the Municipal Code.

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