GONZALES — Three faulty starters on the city’s new pump station No. 19 triggered a delay in bringing the project online, Chief Engineer Jackie Baumann told the City Council on Monday evening.

The problem was discovered in the last two weeks, she said, while contractors tested the four new pumps in advance of shutting down the older pump station No. 40 behind City Hall.

“Every time we powered up, the pumps blew fuses on the poles,” said Glen Shaheen, a consulting engineer with GSA Inc. “We thought at first we’d have to send the pumps back to the manufacturer for bad wiring,” he said, but after two days of electrical diagnostics, the starters were pinpointed as the problem.

One starter has been replaced, Baumann said, so two of the four pumps are working. Now, the city is waiting on delivery of two more starters set to arrive next week.

The station’s relocation — from behind City Hall to the new site across Cornerview Road — is one of the city’s largest ongoing projects at $3.5 million and is part of a larger sewer rehabilitation project. It includes installation of new force mains and removal of sludge from the sewer treatment plan on La. 44, south of La. 30.

To date, 1,060 dry tons of sludge have been removed from two cells in the treatment plant, Baumann said. One cell has been completely cleaned out, she said, and the second cell will require removal of another 300 tons, totaling 1,360.

Baumann reported that two water and fire protection improvement projects came in $77,295 under budget, and cosmetic changes to plans for the new police station triggered a credit of $29,047 on that project.

The metal building frame for the $4.4 million facility will ship Aug. 16.