Woodingham Pump Station Reconstruction: A Big Project in a Small Space

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Thursday, December 26, 2019, 11:19 am
Anaiis Rios-Kasoga and Alice Dreger

(Photos by Raymond Holt)

The Woodingham Pump Station’s major makeover has been filled with months of pile-driving, construction vehicle traffic, and intermittent street closures. Residents living nearby tell ELi they are hoping it will all be over soon.

The pump station is located just off Harrison Road (a couple of blocks north of Saginaw Street) in the areas of the Hidden Tree apartment complex and the Harrison Meadows neighborhood. The pump constitutes a “critical” component in East Lansing’s sanitary (toilet) and wastewater sewer system.

Construction began in April and was slated for completion in May 2020. The finish date, however, has been pushed to October 2020.

According to a recent communication from East Lansing’s Director of Public Works, Scott House, the project “immediately faced several delays due to Board of Water and Light (BWL) relocating utilities. Thereafter, they encountered additional delays from boulders that were not identified during the soil borings that damaged the sheet piling.”

The sheet piling is used to hold back the dirt “so that the contractor can safely excavate to the required depth.” When the sheet piling was damaged, “groundwater flowed into the excavation,” requiring that water be pumped out of the pit using deep well pumps, so that the piling could be repaired.

The original station at this location was built in 1962, and the current pump dates back to 1982. The existing pump is now considered functionally obsolete.

The reconstruction is being done with the goal of increasing the pump’s capacity to better serve the city and its residents and also to build in an emergency generator, which is now lacking. The new pump will also have an odor-control system in consideration of nearby residents.

The cost of the project totals about $6.8 million, with assistance provided through the State of Michigan’s revolving loan fund.

According to House, once the ground work is finished, the construction site’s footprint will be minimized, with roads fully reopened.

House says, “This is a tough project to build on a small lot in a neighborhood, but it is an important project that will provide a more resilient system.”

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