The city Tuesday agreed to the purchase of a new water pump downtown that will be utilized during heavy storms.

The Washington City Council voted 7-0 to purchase a Great and Gray Flygt pump at the cost of $227,955 to be installed at the Walnut Street lift station. The contract was awarded to Vandevanter Engineering, St. Louis. 

Kevin Quaethem, water/wastewater superintendent, said there is “an on-going battle” at the Walnut Street lift station to move sewage from the station down to the treatment plant.

He added heavy rain overloads the system on Front Street causing manhole covers to pop up. 

John Nilges, director of public services, said the new pump would not eliminate the occurrence of overloading the system, but it would reduce the chances.

“To guarantee it will not happen is a stretch,” he said. But it reduces the risk.

As an example, Nilges explained the overloading in the Front Street area occurs about five times annually. The new pump may limit that to as much as once every five years. 

The pump will only be utilized during heavy rains.