Engineers present recommendations for Marion pumping stations

Jun 10, 2019

MARION — A new study of the impacts of severe flooding on Marion pumping stations led engineering consultant CDM Smith to recommend that Marion move electrical controls on all stations up higher, and consider replacing four of the stations entirely. 

Frannie Bui, Lauren Klonskey and Jesse Herman all presented to the Marion Board of Selectmen on June 10. The three completed a vulnerability and risk assessment and recommended that the Front Street, Creek Road and Silvershell, and Point Road street pumping stations be replaced or their controls on be moved above the maximum projected flood level for each station. The team also had the same recommendation on the controls for the remaining stations. 

Their study found that all pumping stations are subject to flood zone risks and many of them would also be impacted by hurricanes. 

To remedy the situation, CDM Smith recommended a combination of new mechanical equipment, which will last probably to 2045, by the time that it is installed, and new buildings which would likely last until 2080 if they are replaced by 2030

The engineers used Federal Emergency Management Agency data, but also tried to take in the impacts of increased wave size if sea level rises. By talking with Marion employees that work with the pumping stations, they developed a score card for each station. 

They found that the Oakdale pumping station was most at risk of flooding, but the equipment in Creek Road, Front Street and Oakdale stations would most vulnerable in the event of a flood. 

Selectman John Waterman pointed out that Marion might focus more on Creek Road and Front Street because everything in the system goes through those two stations.

Klomsky said that was fine. Just because the findings suggest Oakdale is most at risk and very vulnerable “does not mean that you have to put all your effort into Oakdale.” Marion residents will decide as a community which stations to repair or replace Klomsky said. 

The engineers suggested that because the Creek Road station receives flow from the other five locations it would be a good place for a permanent generator. Frank Cooper, the Superintendent of the Wastewater Division, also had a number of changes he would make to the station, which he listed for attendees. 

Ultimately, Cooper said that “It’s what we have until we decide to invest in a new station. I don’t see us changing the location, because realistically where are we going to go? You just need a more sensible station,” he said

Town Planner Gil Hilario asked what would happen if the electrical controls were submerged.

The engineers and Selectman Randy Parker were able to confirm that the controls would not work if they got wet.

Waterman also asked who owns the land for the Front Street station, and whether the town will have to buy it from Tabor Academy. Town Administrator Jay McGrail said he would look into the issue.