$3.5 million pump station in final testing stage

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By Carolyn Roy, carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

Cane River Waterway Commission Chairman Jim Rhodes says problems with the filter that is part of a pumping system on Cane River should be resolved soon and the project remains on budget. The commission contracted with Womack and Sons Construction Group Inc. in November of 2016 to build the Cane River Lake Pump Station. The target completion date was January of this year.

The commission extended the date when engineers learned the discharge rates from the pumping and filter system were lower than projected. Rhodes said the pumps are working and have pushed water through from Red River into Cane River but engineers are trouble-shooting and examining all phases of the filter. He says the 40-micron filter is installed and is working, to some degree. The whole system will be tested for two more weeks and the problem should be resolved during that time.

The filters are to screen for zebra muscles as protection for Cane River and the National Fish Hatchery. The commission recently hired attorney Chris Guillet to act as a liaison between the commission and other parties, as Rhodes said, to protect the rights of the commission and the taxpayers. It will also protect the commission with concerns about the warranty.

“I really think we’re close to the end,” Rhodes said. “We have to be sure what we’re doing is right.” The pump station has been built at a cost of approximately $3.5 million with the total cost of $7 million for land acquisition and pipelines.

The project was enacted to pump water from Red River into Cane River following a drought when the river reached a record low level.