Los Al pump station slated for long awaited overhaul

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City engineers say t his temporary pump installed at the Los Al pumping station will stay in place until the final repairs are complete on the existing 50-year-old pump.

By David N. Young

After decades of complaining, a College Park north resident learned on Tuesday that the long-suffering Los Alamitos pumping station may soon be getting an upgrade.

Richard Vardeman, whose home is literally next door to the pumping station, appeared at Tuesday’s Los Alamitos city council meeting to once again complain again about the pumps.

Vardeman began his presentation wishing the new council well, then asked them to consider taking care of some persistent problems such as sidewalks, repainting street lane markers, etc.

His main target, however, was the ailing pump station near his home, which he then questioned by openly wondering about their “capacity to prevent flooding.”

Vardeman said the city dodged a bullet when recent rains, though hard, were not as bad as predicted. “Thank goodness,” he said.

Since floods came within inches of his home in late 1990’s, Vardeman said he has been appearing before the Los Al council seeking a replacement for the now 50-year-old pump.

Vardeman and his neighbors have lived in this track of homes near Fenley Street for more than 50 years, and the pump station was apparently a condition required of the developers to build in the low area.

In times of extreme rain, the pumps are designed to accelerate the flow of water from the area into Coyote creek and to a lesser extent, Carbon creek.

The pump station was apparently installed by developers as a requirement for them getting approval to develop a low or flood prone area. Since the development was accepted into the system, the pump and station has become the responsibility of taxpayers and is maintained by the city.

City engineer Dave Hunt acknowledged after the meeting that the existing pump was installed more than five decades ago and long since outdated.

Because of the pump’s widely acknowledged operating problems, Hunt said the city has a installed temporary pump in at the pumping station until repairs can be made to the original.

Hunt said the department has $100,000 in this year’s budget to fix the pumps so he assured Vardeman that funding has been approved. Since the pumps are five decades old, however, Hunt said parts and design will likely require extensive updating and modifications from his staff before bids can be requested.

The age of the pump and station “has caused our staff considerable grief,” Hunt acknowledged, but he believes the final design should be ready for bid by spring.

Barring any major complications, Hunt said the pump modification/replacement should be complete by the end of this year.

“I’m hopeful,” said Vardeman after the meeting. “This time, I am really hopeful.”

Courtesy photo of city of Los Alamitos