Harbor pump 'fired up' after repairs (PHOTOS)

Matt Algarin
Donnie Smith works to replace some worn out parts on the gear box during the city's repairs of the harbor pump station, which broke back in February.

Repairs to the city's harbor pump have been completed after nearly five months.

"We fired it up this past Friday," said Tim Pietenpol, the city's acting public services director. "It's been running twenty four-seven since then."

The harbor flushing pump, which was completed in 1992, pulls water from the Gulf of Mexico into a large pipe that sticks out of Holiday Isle and pumps fresh saltwater into the harbor. The pump helps to inject clean water into the harbor.

Without the pump, the ecology of the harbor can degrade since the water in the back of the harbor doesn't circulate regularly, which can result in cloudy water, high algae content and potential death of marine life.

The pump, which cycles through about 50,000 gallons of water a minute, is typically run on a monthly basis from April through October.

Donning SCUBA gear, Pietenpol told The Log, his crew was able to enter not only the Gulf of Mexico, but the harbor as well to clean vegetation and other debris from the pump's pipes.

"We removed as much marine life as possible," he said. "It was pretty thick."

The pump had been out of service since late February, early March, but went back online August 2. A final cost of repairs hadn't been received yet, but they were not to exceed $14,000.

"We're gonna run it a bit more than usual since it was down for a bit," Pietenpol told The Log. "We're definitely glad to have it working again."