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Warneck pump station hosts ribbon-cutting for $2.5 million renovation project

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The Development Authority of the North Country hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday for its $2.5 million renovation project at Warneck Pump Station off Route 37 in the town of Pamelia.

The project, which started in July 2011, renovated 3,200 square feet at the station, adding eight offices for staff, a loading dock, a training room and a public reception area. In addition, a pump enclosure and 6,100-square-foot warehouse were constructed. Energy-efficient features were installed as part of the project, which received Leadership in Energy Environmental Design certification.

The station previously had only two offices for staff members; trailers provided space for 19 full-time employees from the authority’s engineering and water quality divisions. The renovated facility now will have space for staff to work together in one location, said Carrie M. Tuttle, director of engineering.

Since 2002, the engineering division’s staff has grown from one to eight employees, while the water division expanded its number of operators from four to eight, Ms. Tuttle said. The pump station, which was built in 1986, provides service to Fort Drum, the towns of LeRay and Pamelia, the village of Black River and the hamlets of Felts Mills and Great Bend.

“We work with dozens of municipalities in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, and having one space available here for our limited staff is critical,” Ms. Tuttle said of the station, which also is equipped with Wi-Fi Internet and temporary office space to accommodate employees who work at other locations.

The project was funded by operating funds in the authority’s budget. The general contractor for the project was Murnane Building Contractors, Plattsburgh. Hyde-Stone Mechanical Contractors, Watertown, completed HVAC and plumbing work, and Watson Electric Inc., Norwood, did the electrical work. The station features green furniture, lighting and floors from Roberts Office Furniture Concepts Inc., Syracuse.

The warehouse will be used as a storage and repair area for equipment. It includes a shipping and receiving dock that will allow the facility to save on logistics expenses. Previously, equipment was hauled by trucks to a loading dock, which resulted in added costs.

A 1,000-square-foot pump enclosure built outside the facility houses a diesel emergency bypass pump, which is used as a backup for pump failures. The pump was purchased by the authority in 2008 for a capital project in Calcium.

The diesel pump was used as a backup last week when the station’s two 350-horsepower pumps failed. Those failures, on Thursday and Saturday, were caused by problems with the pumps’ variable frequency drives, which allow operators to change speeds.

Engineers repaired the variable frequency drives, which were installed in 2008, on the first pump Wednesday and the second on Thursday. The repair cost is estimated at $20,000.

Bryon D. Perry, manager of the water quality division, said that the failures likely were caused by a high-frequency noise coming from the power lines operated by National Grid. Surge protectors on the incoming power line will be upgraded to prevent future problems.

“We think what happened was two phases on their three-phase power lines came together, and that damaged the capacitors on the input side” of the pump drivers, he said.

The authority also is repairing a 75-horsepower pump that failed in the fall, Mr. Perry said.

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