Members of the Greencastle Board of Works gave little argument Wednesday when they approved emergency repairs to one of the city's sewage lift stations.
Lift stations are underground tanks that help move wastewater through the city's network of sewage pipes. There are about 15 stations strategically located throughout the city and they help pump wastewater to the treatment plant located on the west side of town.
The lift station in question at Wednesday's Board of Works meeting is located along Fillmore Road near Lear Corporation. It serves not only the plant but nearby homes and many of the industrial plants located on Ind. 240 east of Greencastle.
Sewer plant officials said debris in the system near Lear last week caused the lift station pumps to become clogged and stop operating. Fortunately an early warning system notified officials to the problem before the tank overflowed onto the ground or caused other serious problems.
Sewage plant manager George Russell said there is a danger that if the lift station stops working, and the problem is not addressed in a timely manner, the system will back up and residents and businesses could experience problems such as not being able to flush their toilets.
Also the lift station itself can overflow and cause untreated wastewater to spill onto the ground. If that happens, the Indiana Department of Environ-mental Management would get involved.
Russell said a vacuum truck was brought in and pumped the wastewater from the lift station before it became a problem, however, due to the damage caused by the debris and given the age of the lift station itself, extensive repairs are needed.
Officials said the average life expectancy of a lift station is about 20 years. The one next to Lear is 19 years old.
On Wednesday, Board of Works members Thom Morris and Mayor Nancy Michael officially declared the situation an emergency, meaning they can expedite the process of having the lift station repaired.
"This just speeds it up," Michael said, explaining that the city can forgo the normal advertising for bids in the newspaper.
Michael said the repairs have been estimated at around $120,000 and that the funds have already been budgeted.
Wastewater officials say they have identified the source of the debris in the lines and are currently working to remedy the problem.
The Greencastle Board of Works meets at 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at city hall.