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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

Electrical improvements planned to replace 62-year-old equipment at Barton Pump Station

By Ryan J. Stanton

(This story has been corrected to note the approved contract changes are for work at the Barton Pump Station and not related to any work ongoing or planned at Barton Dam.)

The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a $448,675 amendment to a contract with Stantec Consulting for the Barton and South Industrial Pump Stations Electrical Improvements Project.

Senior utilities engineer Brian Steglitz told council members in a memo the project is identified as a high priority in the city's approved Capital Improvement Plan.

The project calls for replacing aging electrical switchgear at the Barton Pump Station that dates back to 1949. Steglitz said the switchgear is not compliant with current national electrical standards and creates a safety hazard for staff.

In addition, spare parts are not readily available, and in the event of a failure it would be difficult to repair, Steglitz said. Failure of the equipment, he noted, would jeopardize the Water Treatment Plant's ability to provide a sufficient quantity of water to city customers.

The council initially approved a $128,650 contract with Stantec last year to complete the study phase of what was then known as the Barton Electrical Improvements Project.

Steglitz said the changes approved Monday cover the balance of the engineering services required to complete the Barton and South Industrial Pump Stations Electrical Improvements Project. The total value of engineering services with Stantec is now $577,325.

Additionally, the council is setting aside a $50,000 contingency for change orders to the contract with Stantec to be approved by the city administrator.

Funds for the project are expected to be advanced from the Water Supply System to be repaid pending the sale of water revenue bonds via the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund.

Steglitz said the Barton Pump Station is located downstream of Barton Dam. He said the approved contract changes are for work at the Barton Pump Station and not related to any work ongoing or planned at Barton Dam.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


David Cahill

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

What does the "South Industrial" part of the project's title mean?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

yohan caught a significant problem with this story. The contract is to repair Barton Pump Station, which is *not* the same as the Dam. The pump station is part of the system that moves water from Barton Pond up to the City's water treatment plant, where it is cleaned and then piped all over the city for tap water. The Dam and the Pump Station are totally separate structures!


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

So glad to see that we are maintaining this important local source of renewable energy! Someone please tell me that there is NOT an extra 1% being spent on the bloated and unresponsive public art program from this effort.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 9:01 a.m.

The headline and first paragraph of this story are incorrect. Barton Pump Station IS NOT Barton Dam. They are two very different structures separated by a few hundred yards.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

Can they make it artisy and kill two birds with one stone ??


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

Work is being done 30 years after the first study? With a half a million on another study? Dang. you guys are good. Wonder how long it took Henry Ford to build a dam; flood a lake; and start generating power? LOL! I'm sorry, I'll leave you alone- back to studying please.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

??? I think you're confused, but then so is the story. The city restored electrical generation at Barton Dam in the 80's, a few years at most after the 1981 study. The turbine there has been generating over 4 million kilowatt-hours of power per year since then.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

Can we get a whitewater feature like at Argo? The portage at Barton is really a drag...