Flood pump station nearing readiness

WESTFIELD—The newly renovated Williams Riding Way Flood Control Pump Station underwent tests and is operational in an emergency, according to the Westfield Flood Commission.

The tests were run yesterday morning by the Westfield Flood Commission. The renovations were done on the pump station that was last renovated in 1955, which was the same year as one of Westfield’s largest ever floods.

Among those in attendance were Mayor Brian Sullivan, City Engineer Mark Cressotti and Ward 1 City Councilor Mary Ann Babinski.

Cressotti said that the renovations cost around $1.2 to $1.3 million and have been going for about two years. He stressed that the pump station is not officially open, but that the fiscal side of the project is complete.

Barry Plumley, co-chairman of the Westfield Flood Commission, said that the renovations were in dire need for the pump station.

“They had gas-driven engines installed right after the 1955 flood when they got it done,” Plumley said. “From then it hasn’t been maintained and has been neglected.”

Cressotti echoed this sentiment when speaking to those in attendance.

“In 2006 or 2007 was the last time these pumps were used,” he said. “The pumps vibrated so violently that it broke the clay pipeline into it.”

The two larger, 25,000 gallon pumps

The two larger, 25,000 gallon pumps

The equipment installed to replace the gas engines is electric-powered, with three total pumps, along with a back-up diesel generator attached in the event that electricity cannot flow to the station.

All three pumps

All three pumps

Plumley said that the pumps go into operation when the water from the river backflows too much, thus forcing it into the system. The first pump operates, which is much smaller than the other two pumps, and if that one is unable to maintain the water flow, then the other two larger pumps activate.

The smaller pump is expected to be able to handle 3,000 gallons of water per minute, while the two larger pumps will be able to handle 25,000 gallons of water per minute.

The station, which is located at the lowest point in the city to aid in flood prevention, is much needed, Plumley said. He said that Westfield is one of the most vulnerable cities for flooding due to the runoff that comes from the Berkshires and the large watershed it is in.

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