KIMBALL, Tenn. -- City leaders have seen their share of expensive problems with Kimball's sewer system, and now they're trying to prepare for trouble before it even exists.
The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to seek bids for backup pumps for each of the town's three sewer pump stations.
Alderman Mark Payne said when the city installed a new main lift station recently, it didn't receive a spare pump to go with it.
"My way of thinking is that we need a spare pump," he said.
If one of the two pumps on the station fails, it could take anywhere from one to eight weeks to repair.
"If your other pump failed in the meantime, you're looking at bypassing [the unit] for a certain period of time," Payne said.
Anthony Pelham, an engineer with James C. Hailey & Co. in Nashville, estimated that a backup pump for the main station could cost around $10,000, while the city's two other smaller stations might cost an additional $8,000 each.
"If that main went down, you could have major problems," he said.
Officials estimate bypass pumping would cost the town about $6,600 for every five days it's needed.
While installing the pump station at the new Marion County Regional Institute of Technical Excellence along U.S. Highway 41, engineers tried to incorporate as many common parts with Kimball's main station as possible.
"We intentionally did that, so there would be some commonality between the pump stations," Pelham said. "In a pinch, you could rob seals, bearings, shafts, and everything except the electric motor and the impeller. That would be a dire, emergency situation, but they are very similar."
He agreed that it would be a good idea for the city to buy exact duplicate replacement pumps for each unit.
Pelham will draw up the specifications for each of the three spare pumps that are needed, officials said, and the city will seek bids for the equipment as soon as that's ready.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.