Rotterdam residents again asked to conserve water after pump breaks

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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— Town residents are being asked to forego watering their lawns and gardens until Tuesday after a failed pump motor left its largest water district in short supply this week.

Clark Collins, the town's senior water treatment plant operator, said more than two weeks of non-stop pumping caused the aging motor to falter earlier this week. As a result, he said the district's water capacity has since struggled to keep up with residential demand, which spiked at more than 9 million gallons a day before the outage -- the district's water usage averages around 3.5 million gallons per day during the winter.

Abnormally dry conditions over the past three weeks have prompted many residents to water plants and lawns more frequently. And unlike some municipalities, Rotterdam residents pay a flat annual rate for water, meaning the average house can consume upward of 450 gallons per day.

"These pumps are going 24 hours a day, non-stop," Collins said.

The town issued its first restriction immediately prior to the Independence Day holiday last week due to the low capacity of its water tanks. Collins said the previous restriction came before the pump failure, which occurred earlier this week.

Collins said the town has already purchased a rebuilt motor for $5,000 and anticipates having it online at the Rice Road treatment plant sometime later this week. He plans to fix the old motor so the district can have a spare on hand if another breakdown occurs.

"If people conserve on water for the next couple days, we'll be OK," he said.

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