Alcoa’s Public Works Department and the landfill in the city limits are both making some much-needed updates to several pieces of equipment after approval from city commissioners.

Commissioners voted unanimously late Tuesday to approve a path forward to replacing pumps at the Alcoa-Maryville-Blount landfill and a street leaf collector for the city.

The bill for the landfill pump will be footed by Landfill Services, according to Solid Waste Manager Kelly Hembree.

Alcoa will purchase the leaf collector.

Neither piece of equipment comes cheap. Notes on the approval for purchase show the leaf collector will cost the city a total of $81,844.46. The package pump station may cost up to $90,000, according to city officials.

But the replacements are more than standard upkeep for the city. Both pieces of machinery were old and had undergone several repairs.

The city was not able to meet all of its leaf-collecting goals last year, Assistant Director and Chief Engineer at Alcoa’s Public Works & Engineering Department Simon deVente told The Daily Times in a phone interview.

The old machine a — an Xtreme Vac LCT6000, which is towed behind a truck — broke down during fall of 2018 and has not been replaced since.

“Last year, leaves weren’t getting picked up like they normally are and people were calling in questioning that,” deVente said.

Notes on the purchase approval show that the leaf blower expenditure will be $1,844.46 over budget.

In the case of the pump that needs replacing at the landfill — specifically known as a leachate pump station — the city has authorized Smith Seckman Reid Inc. as consultants on the pump-replacement project.

Design services and the construction costs were included in the 2020 budget, but notes show they are not to exceed $48,400.

But why replace the pump in the first place?

Said deVente: The pump system may be more than 25 years old and since it was originally installed, lines that send liquid to the the local sewer system have been rerouted. So today, the pumps have to work harder.

“Because of that and because of the nature of the material that comes from the landfill itself, the pumps were wearing out,” deVente said.

Liquid was getting in the electrical inner working of the pumps, which are submerged in the liquid.

So why not simply replace the existing pumps?

Said deVente: The exact model of pump they need is no longer available. Now they’re looking to purchase a suction lift pump that is placed above ground, out of the sewage and is easy to maintain.

Pumps last on average a total 25 to 30 years, and deVente said he thinks this will be a good investment but that the city will need two to keep up with the landfill’s needs.

The leaf blower may be purchased just in time for the fall leaf collection, deVente said.

The pumps should be purchased and installed before July 2020.

In other action Tuesday night, Alcoa commissioners:

• Declared four electric department trucks as surplus, released them for sale and committed the proceeds to replace other electric department equipment

• Authorized a new certificate of compliance for Topside Wine and Spirits because a revision to the original application added another owner

• Approved the creation of a new plan of services and amended the zoning to general business district for two properties on Topside near Pearly Smith Road. The property owners — Steve Cable and Johnny Shore — are interested in developing it for commercial use

• Approved amendments to city law regarding traffic, parking, cars and funeral processions.

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