Council OKs $234,000 purchase of drive units for sewer plant clarifiers

One of the clarifiers at the City’s wastewater treatment plan is seen above.

The Devine City Council approved the $234,000 purchase of two drive units, one for each of the clarifiers at the City’s wastewater plant, during the Special meeting held on April 23.

Clarifiers are tanks that mechanically separate liquids and solids in wastewater. Council voted to hire Shannon-Monk, Inc., to repair the broken blades on one of the clarifiers during an Emergency meeting on January 29, and Public Works Director Ismael Carrillo explained that the need for a new drive unit was discovered during the course of that project.

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“[Shannon-Monk] found wear and tear of the gears, little pieces of metal in it,” Carrillo said. “So their recommendation – they’re saying it could last a day, it could last a week, it could last a year.”

Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez only one clarifier had been drained for repairs, and that the status of the drive unit in the second clarifier wouldn’t be known until it was drained.

The wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1992.

“They’re recommending that we order both gears right now,” Carrillo said. “The manufacturer has two available.”

Carrillo said that if the City had to place an order for a drive unit when there were none available, construction would take two to three months.

After some initial hesitation, City Engineer Raul Garcia suggested replacing both drive units.

“That way you still have at least 25 to 30 more years of service out of those without having to worry about it,” Garcia said.

The cost to purchase and install a new drive unit in each clarifier was quoted at $117,000, or $234,000 for both. Carrillo said that much of the cost would be from hiring a crane pull the old drive units out and insert the new ones.

The clarifiers can’t be offline at the same time, and Carrillo suggested there would be a two- to three-week gap between installations.

“We run the risk of not needing [both], but do you want to wait three months if one of them goes out?” District 4 Councilman Chuck Guzman asked.

A motion by Guzman and District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez to purchase two drive units passed 5-0.

A Special meeting was set for press night on Tuesday, May 5. The next Regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19.

Council meetings are now broadcast live. To watch a livestream or view archived meetings, visit the City website at and click on the ‘Live Council Meetings’ link.

By Marly Davis

Staff Writer

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