The wastewater pumps were overwhelmed during an early October storm and caused a backup of sewage into the Mayor Bill Overstreet Park utilities building. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The wastewater pumps were overwhelmed during an early October storm and caused a backup of sewage into the Mayor Bill Overstreet Park utilities building. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Whale statue pump repairs on track, but no clear end date set

Questions about who will do the repairs remain.

While clean up for the statue of the whale in Mayor Bill Overstreet Park is on schedule, there’s no clear timeline yet for the project.

“They’ll have a little bit more disinfecting work to do as equipment is opened up and removed from the pump room, exposing surfaces they can’t currently reach,” said Keri Williamson, engineer and project manager with the City and Borough of Juneau.

[Juneau whale statue pumps to be repaired by spring, hopefully]

The statue’s machine room was flooded by an overflow of wastewater when pumps to the city’s wastewater treatment plant across the harbor couldn’t keep up with the huge volume of rain on the weekend of Oct. 5. More than five inches of rain landed in downtown Juneau that weekend, and as much as 10 inches might have fallen outside the city.

The deep cleaning is necessary to clean the room so that no foreign material that could develop into bacteria or filth remains in the machine room. Williamson said. Otherwise, like a basement that floods and is never cleaned, rot could set in permanently, making the room hazardous to step foot in.

Williamson said that once room is clean, it’ll be up to the insurance company to work out how the repairs would go: whether they’d be able to select any company they’d like for the contract or whether the city would have to put together a competitive bidding process.

The exact cause of the flooding still hasn’t been determined, whether it was a valve failure or simply overflow.

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