Municipal utilities board manages updates and repairs

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Marshall Municipal Utilities Board of Public Works met Thursday, July 17, to review the needs of the community.

Upon opening the session, the board moved into their reports which began with the Electric Distribution Director Jeff Bergstrom discussing the Miami sub station. According to Bergstrom, the station -- which was built in 1984 -- is in need of a new battery charger that has more up-to-date features and capabilities.

Bergstrom explained the issue was brought to light while maintenance was being performed on a bad battery at the power plant a few years back. The technician that performed the maintenance on the battery installed a charger that did not have a battery eliminator feature, and as a result, a number of power supplies and protective relays were damaged. He elaborated on the importance of the batteries and the necessity of a more up-to-date charger.

"If we lose power, that's what keeps us going are these battery banks," Bergstrom said.

The board made the decision to approve the request for the new charger.

The board then turned to Monty Chase, underground facilities director, with questions about the water main repairs on South Odell Avenue. Chase explained that the corrosive soil is eating the pipe from the outside and thus has lead to an increase in repairs.

"We haven't had too many leaks there in the past 20 years and now all of a sudden we do," Chase said.

He explained that the problem is caused by "hot soil" in that the current voltage of the water main is a contributing factor in the soil that surrounds the pipes.

Ginny Ismay, director of environmental services, addressed the board with alterations to the final change order for the water treatment plant's paint project.

"Essentially, when the specs were put together we included allowances for steel surface spot repair and concrete repair," she said.

Ismay explained neither repairs allocated for steel or concrete were necessary. However, some fine tuning was needed when additional repair items such as nuts, bolts and labor were factored in.

Jim Johnson, director of electric production, said work on the power plant roof project has begun. He informed the board that welding started last week and a small crane was brought in to help facilitate the project. Johnson also mentioned that a larger crane will be needed to assist with the project and roofing crews will begin work later this week. Some safety hazards were mentioned and Johnson explained that various sections of the grounds will be blocked off while the heavier construction work is underway.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 31, to review the work currently underway and address any issues that arise during the interim.

Contact Lucas Johnson at

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