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BCC purchases and installs defective water pumps

by Staff reporter
10 Jan 2021 at 07:47hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council could have lost millions of dollars after purchasing and installing new water pumps with "significant design and manufacturing" defects that they wanted installed at the local authority's main pumping stations to ease Bulawayo water problems.

The new pumps were purchased and installed under the US$33,6 million Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

A couple of months ago, the local authority took journalists and councillors for a tour of the six pumps at Ncema, Fernhill and Criterion waterworks where they boldly declared that once the project was completed, the new pumps would enable the city to pump up to 180 megalitres per day against the city's daily consumption of 150 megalitres.

By November, council officials and the contractor onsite had said the project was 84 percent complete.

However, according to a council report, it has since emerged that when the local authority conducted a test run of the pumps it was discovered that four out of the six pumps had design and manufacturing defects.

"A significant problem occurred during the testing prior to commissioning of the new Flowserve pumps in that four of the total six non-return valves (NRVs) failed due to design and manufacturing defects.

"The NRVs have an important function to protect the pumps; when a pump is switched off or when there is a power outage, the NRV prevents backflow from the water in the rising main. If unchecked, backflow causes the pump to spin in reverse which is a potentially damaging action for the pump," reads part of the report.

The local authority, working with the contractor is now in the process of getting new NRVs and transporting them to the country for installation and ensure that the city starts pumping as soon as possible.

"Currently, the contractor is working to urgently restore the delivery of water via the Flowserve rising main using just one pump at each pump station within the shortest possible timelines. The contractor's programme for this stage is that it will be operational before the end of January 2021.

"This forms part of the incremental solution, progressively working towards a fully commissioned pumping system by 15 March 2021. While the first two Flowserve pumps will have been put on-line, the remaining four pumps will have the new NRVs installed by 15 March," reads the report.

Meanwhile, the local authority has revealed that it could be reducing its water shedding schedule to 96-hours a week, by mid-February, from the current situation where residents get water as and when available where they publish daily provisional water supply restoration schedules.

According to a council report, the local authority was working towards bringing online one of the Sulzer pumps and Fernhill raw water pumping station, which will effectively increase the amount of water being pumped to its reservoirs.

"Once the second Sulzer comes online, the amount of raw water pumped through is expected to increase from the current average of between 50 to 55 megalitres a day to almost 90 megalitres a day. This will result in the reverting to the 144 hours per week water shedding programme as from 15 January.

"Further review of the shedding thereafter will be made as the two Flowserve pumps come online at the end of January 2021. The pumps will be used to gradually build-up the raw water buffer which enable council to eventually shift towards a less stressful shedding regime of 96-hours by 12 February 2021," reads the report.

The local authority also revealed that Nyamandlovu line boreholes were now delivering just over six megalitres a day of water down from the previous 12 –13 megalitres a day, which was realised through the test run of some of the Epping Forest boreholes.

"The challenges that have seen the decrease come into effect are; the rains that have impeded access to the boreholes for such services and repairs and the increased power outages again due to the increased thunderstorms activity in the area," reads the report.

Source - sundaynews
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