UPDATE: The testing of the Washington Street pumping station has been rescheduled to start Jan. 14. City officials say residents may experience discolored water "on or about Jan. 14" and start-up testing is expected to run through Jan. 17.

Milford's Washington Street pumping station is nearing completion as it undergoes testing this week to check functionality of pumps and control systems. Residents within a four-block radius may experience discolored water as the station is filled and tested on Wednesday.

Work on the Washington Street sewer pumping station is reaching its final milestones with the testing of valves and controls this next week.

While some cosmetic work, like the brick overlay for the pump station structure, does not yet have an expected completion date, the operational portion of the pump station will be ready to go if all goes well with the testing.

The sewer pumping station upgrade was approved by voters as a part of a 2008 bond referendum, a project that has been budgeted at $762,400, with an additional $75,000 from the sewer reserves dedicated by council on Oct. 28 for additional work, which includes the brick facing and on the pumping station structure other unforeseen structural improvements.

City Manager Richard Carmean said the station will essentially be in commission during the testing this week as it reaches the final phases of construction.

"They don't have the brick veneer on it yet, but for all purposes it is complete," he said. "Our pumps were in very bad shape … now we're looking at [this project as] a 30-to-35-year fix before anything would have to be done to the [station] again."

Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc. Associate Erik Retzlaff explained that the testing, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, was pushed back a day due to below-freezing temperatures that could damage hoses filled with water, and has now been rescheduled to occur on Jan. 14 through Jan. 17.

As the station is currently empty, Retzlaff said that yesterday the station will be tested by filling it with water, which is then pumped out to test the pumping system.

"Basically, we have to make sure the pumps are spinning the right way and pumping the right amount," he said.

Testing of the controls will see that the controller can be turned on and off, to make sure it's installed correctly, he said.

With the water withdrawal testing yesterday, Retzlaff said some residents may experience discolored water and recommends that residents within a three- to four-block radius avoid doing laundry or other activities that may be affected by discolored water.

The discoloration would result from pulling a significant amount of water out of the water mains, which sometimes changes the direction of flow and disturbs sediment built up in the water mains, he said.

"The lines will clear themselves out after a while, but that initial disturbance may have some impact," Retzlaff explained. "Typically any of the materials that naturally occur in the water – calcium, sodium – they deposit over time in the main. The water is used to traveling in one direction, and when we reverse that direction [it disturbs those deposits]. It's not harmful. Once this is done, the system is basically operational."

While the sewer pumping station is nearing completion, the Washington Street water treatment plant still has a lot of work to be done.

Demolition of the 60-year-old treatment plant has been completed but bids for the construction of the new plant have not yet been advertised.

The $4 million project still has a ways to go, but it has remained on budget due to the acquisition of the former PNC Bank building, which is now slated to be used as the city's billing office. Milford purchased the building for $600,000 on July 2, a fraction of the expected cost to build a new building on the property site of the Washington Street water treatment plant, which was the original plan, Carmean explained. With $1.8 million originally allocated to the construction of the new building, the remaining funds saved can be used toward other projects, said Carmean at an August city council meeting.

An additional $300,000 has been budgeted for cosmetic repairs to the PNCV building, including a back entrance, bathrooms and different counters to serve the city's needs. Carmean said he expects the bidding for work on the PNC building to be publicized within the next couple weeks.

The purchase of the PNC building also allowed the city to find a new location for a well, located on a lot behind City Hall. Testing on the new well, which will feed the Washington Street water treatment plant, is still a few weeks away. An estimated completion date of the Washington Street water treatment plant project could not be provided, although it was originally slated for completion in late 2014.