MUSCLE SHOALS — City Council members Monday approved the purchase of a new pump for the Wilson Dam Road retention pond in an attempt to reduce the potential for flooding in the southeastern areas of the city.

Mayor David Bradford said the pump is identical to a pump that is already in place at the retention pond near Roosevelt Avenue. The addition of a second pump will double the amount of water that can be pumped out of the pond during periods of heavy rain. 

The city was able to bypass state bid laws because the identical pump is only sold by one vendor in the state, Bradford said.

Bradford said the city had to show the project required a compatible pump that was available through only one source.

City Clerk Ricky Williams said the project includes the purchase of controls that will operate two pumps. 

"We also have a back-up pump that used to be a little primary pump when all we had was a floating pump," Bradford said.

Another part of the project involves increasing the size of the force main that removes water from the retention pond. The water is pumped to the retention pond at Brown and Sixth streets.

City Engineer Brad Williams said there is an 8-inch pipe coming out of the pond and a 14-inch pipe under Wilson Dam Road.

Williams said he's designing plans for a new 16-inch pipe that will carry water from the retention pond. He said contractors installed a 24-inch steel casing under Wilson Dam Road so there will be no need to dig to install the larger pipes.

"In addition to buying the pump, there's going to be an upgrade to the force main so we can run both pumps at the same time," Williams said. 

That project will be sent out for bids and will have to be approved by the Alabama Department of Transportation due to some work taking place on the state right of way.

The mayor said the pump and controls will cost about $45,000 while the new force main will cost about $100,000 to $150,000.

Not only will the additional pump increase capacity, it will help reset, or drain, the pond quicker between rain events.

Bradford said the small floating pump only had a capacity of 1,500 gallons per minute. The larger pump that was installed can pump 2,500 to 3,000 gallons per minute, and the addition of a second identical pump effectively doubles that capacity.

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