Overheating pumps inspected after massive June rainfall

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published October 27, 2021

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MACOMB COUNTY — Fairbanks Morse, which manufactured the three giant pumps inside the Chapaton Pump Station, as well as an electrical contractor, inspected the pumps at Chapaton at the behest of Macomb County Public Works after the pumps were pushed to maximum capacity during the June 25-26 storm event that dumped more than three inches of rain on St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe.

“After being critical of the Great Lakes Water Authority for not being proactive, we are being proactive with our own facility,” said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller in a press release. “No infrastructure can completely handle the kind of rain events we had in June and July.

“But when you criticize, you’d better make sure you’re taking care of your own backyard.”

The three pumps were rebuilt a decade ago. Each has 2,750 horsepower and requires 130 gallons of oil. Miller said the inspections uncovered a few issues that will be fixed but nothing critical. She said the office will now create plans for capital improvements to repair the pumps, as well as some electrical issues that were uncovered in the inspections.

“We find it, we fix it,” she said.

Miller said Chapaton was the last line of defense from local basement flooding during the June storms after electrical failures at the Freud Pump Station and Conners Creek Pump Station in Detroit and the subsequent shutdown of the Marter Pump Station on the border of Macomb and Wayne counties. At that time, all three Chapaton pumps began overheating while they worked at maximum capacity. According to the Public Works Office, alarms went off, the building shook and a manhole cover on Nine Mile Road blew up in the air. Flow had to be diverted to the underground retention basin and the Nine Mile Emergency Bypass.