Pump station rebuild to keep water moving uphill in Waynesville

Feb. 12—A pump station that's the workhorse of moving water uphill to mountainside homes in Waynesville is getting a $225,000 retrofit.

The pump station is the first stop in a chain of six pumps that act like a series of stairsteps — pushing water from one tank to the next en route to nearly 500 homes in Eagle's Nest and Laurel Ridge.

It is not only the most critical pump station, but also the oldest at over 20 years old.

"That pump house is the one that all the water comes to first, so you have to be really proactive and fix it before it breaks," said Jeff Stines, Waynesville Public Services director. "You have so many bearings and sleeves, and there's a lot of working parts."

The pump house has built-in redundancy with dual pumps.

"There's two that work in tandem, so if you did have a breakdown, you could still move water," Stines said.

Both are being replaced, but water service won't be interrupted, since one pump can do the job while the other is being rebuilt, and vice versa.

The cost of the pump station rebuild will come out of extra fees tacked on to the water bills of those served by the pump.

Each pump station water passes through adds an expense — from the maintenance of equipment to the cost of electricity to power the pump. So residents served by the pump-and-tank network pay more for their water.

The extra fee is $8 a month for each pump station the water passes through. Those at the very top, whose water goes through all six pump stations, have a surcharge of $48 a month on their water bill.

The water begins its climb up Eagle's Nest at 2,500 feet in elevation, with the last stop being 5,500 feet.