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Athens city mistake generates extra spending

Athens city officials must now spend an extra $15,000 on a back-up generator for the Athens Water Treatment Plant, because the one originally purchased was not compatible with various systems within the city.

City officials originally purchased a $40,000 back-up generator, but it did not have enough voltage to operate with the reservoirs and pump systems throughout the municipality, said Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl at last night's City Council meeting.

Though the second generator will cost $55,000, the city will spend only $15,000 after the exchange, he said, adding that the new generator will be more compatible, larger and transportable.

The new generator will be used during total power outages when the city does not have power for over 24-hours, Wiehl said.

City officials realized the demand for a back-up generator after the tornado and subsequent storms hit Athens County in September, said Councilwoman Sherry Coon, D-2nd Ward.

The city just wants to take extra precaution in case of another natural disaster, she said.

The plant needs to be able to operate during power outages because residents will still need their water and sewer pumped effectively at that time, Wiehl said, adding that he suspects Athens uses about 3 million gallons of water a day.

Because the new generator is transportable, it can be taken to one reservoir or pump station to boost the water or sewage systems, and then be moved to the next station easily, Wiehl said.

City officials said they are not certain when the swap of generators will occur, but hope to complete it soon.

"The faster the better," Wiehl said.

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