By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN New storm water lift pumps should mean less flooding in Delano. The pumps were recently installed on the east and west side of the Crow River.
“This is something the city’s needed for a long time,” Public Works Director Ernie Eden said.
The lift station on the west side of the river was installed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) during the Highway 12 construction.
“MnDOT paid 100 percent of that,” Delano City Administrator Phil Kern said.
The lift station east of the river was completed Oct. 1, and was paid in part by a grant form the emergency management division of the Department of Homeland Security.
Through the hazard mitigation grant program, Delano received 75 percent of the funding for the $1.1 million project, Kern said. The grant is designed as a preventative measure, to reduce future natural disasters.
The City of Delano made the case that with the new lift stations there would be less flooding.
The city paid about $275,000 for the project. The total cost of construction for the storm water pumps was $670,486, and the contractor was Eagle Construction.
Other expenses associated with the project included culvert upgrades, as well as planning and engineering costs.
The pumps are working very well so far, Eden said.
At first, the west side station had a problem with the surfacing, but it has been fixed, Kern said. The surface had been concrete tile, and water was able to slip between the individual pieces. Now, the surface is a solid concrete slab, which works much better, he said.
With the new lift stations, water is able to be pumped quickly and efficiently, Eden said.
“It [the east side station] has two 100-horsepower pumps,” he said, adding that it is capable of pumping 16,000 gallons per minute.
The city tested it out during the heavy autumn rains.
“The staff was pretty amazed at how much water it could pump,” Eden said.
The lift station works by pumping water from a lower elevation to a higher one.
“It’s very simple, but very effective,” Eden said.
The water stops, and the sediment settles to the bottom. When the water reaches a certain level, gravity causes it to spill over into the Crow River.
“When the water gets there, it’s a lot cleaner,” Eden said.
The idea for the storm water lift stations began with a 1996 storm water management plan that addressed problems in the storm water system. Participants recommended a lift station on both sides of the river, in the locations they are now.
In 2003, a storm water task force further addressed the issue, identifying the city’s needs following flooding in 2002.
“What we had before was just a tractor,” Eden said. There was a 12-inch pipe along Wright County Road 17 that discharged into the river.
“It worked, but it was slow,” he said.
With the new system, there are two floats that can be adjusted to different heights. When water reaches them, it signals the pumps to turn on. Currently, they are set at about 2 feet and 3.5 feet.
“You always set one lower, so only one pump kicks on,” Eden explained. This way, it uses less energy. If one pump gets overwhelmed, then the other will turn on.
“We like to alternate the lead pump,” Eden said. About once a month, the city adjusts the height of the floats to change the pump that turns on first.
The system should have a life expectancy of about 30 to 35 years, Eden said, adding that there is also a two-year warranty.
“I think it’s pretty significant in keeping the town from flooding,” he said. “So much of the town is in kind of a flood area.”
Increasing amounts of pavement in the city contribute to the need for the stations, as well.
“As development takes place, there are more hard surfaces, which creates more run off,” Eden said.
“Delano, right along the river, is a low point,” Kern said. “The water just pools.”