By Dan Hust
CALLICOON The great floods are five years’ past, but their effects linger, as the Town of Delaware suddenly discovered Memorial Day weekend.
A storm knocked out power then to the town’s sewer plant in Callicoon typically not a problem, as the plant has an emergency generator.
“The generator kicked on for about 10 seconds, then the whole alternating system of the generator burnt out,” Supervisor Jim Scheutzow recalled at Wednesday’s regular town board meeting.
For six hours, town officials scrambled to restore electricity, watching the untreated sewage pile up in the plant.
“I made the executive decision that we had to do something in a hurry,” Scheutzow related.
A local plumbing operation was finally contacted, but before they arrived, NYSEG had fixed the power problem.
But the generator was shot.
Scheutzow theorized that repeated flooding in recent years had deposited silt deep inside the generator, damaging the bearings each time the machine kicked on.
So Delaware is now renting a 250-kilowatt generator from a Connecticut company for $1,350 a week a figure that drew gasps from the audience.
The estimate to fix the 20-year-old faulty generator was around $44,000, said Scheutzow.
“And that’s if the only thing that’s wrong with it is what they could see,” he advised.
A new generator would take 8-10 weeks to manufacture, he added, but would cost about $50,000 still more than $5,000 less than what the town would have to shell out to purchase the generator it’s currently renting.
“My thinking is we bite the bullet and order the new one,” Scheutzow recommended.
The entire town board agreed, and since it’s considered an emergency, the order was made immediately, with no bids solicited.
While the old generator may have some scrap value, Scheutzow acknowledged that the sewer district users will have to pay for the new machine especially since the town’s insurer has said the suspected flooding damage would have to be proven before it would pay any claim.
Once delivered, he added, the new generator will be put in a higher location to escape the inevitable future flooding.