Flood repairs on Browns Creek pumps get underway

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Lismore City Council has brought forward repairs to the Browns Creek pumps, which both sustained significant damage in the March flood.

One pump was left completely out of action and the other only partially operational following the flood, and Council had to call on Fire & Rescue NSW to transport a pump from Sydney during minor flooding over the June long weekend.

The first of the Browns Creek pumps was craned out and transported to Brisbane on Saturday, with the delicate operation to remove the pump station roof and crane it onto a truck taking several hours.

Each pump is 12 metres long, weighs around seven tonnes and can extract more than 10 million litres of floodwater per hour – the equivalent of around four Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“Once the first pump is safely reinstalled, the second pump will be removed for repairs,” explained Lismore City Council’s Local Emergency Management Officer Scott Turner.

“We are very conscious that we need to have some pump capacity at all times. Until pump one returns, we will have to rely on pump two and the generosity of Fire & Rescue NSW should another flood come our way.

“These are significant pieces of machinery designed to withstand and operate during times of flood, and this is the first time we have seen them sustain significant damage. It just goes to show how unusual and powerful the March flood was.”

Scott said the Browns Creek pumps would be transported to a specialised engineering factory in Brisbane for testing, and only then would Council know the full extent of the damage.

“We are looking at a repair bill of at least $150,000 for both pumps and that’s without knowing exactly what damage was sustained,” Scott said.

“It could be a very expensive exercise, but it’s a minimal cost when you compare the potential damage to property if we don’t have the pumps draining the basin during significant weather events.”

The Browns Creek pumps were last refurbished in 2007. Work on each of the pumps is expected to take four to six weeks.

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