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Fort Smith to investigate repeated failure of ice plant


The Town of Fort Smith is trying to establish why an ice plant installed at its arena less than a decade ago is now failing multiple times a year.

A technician will spent time this weekend working to fix the latest issue, a pump-related failure that has led the surface to slowly melt and once again forced residents off the ice.

This is “not the same equipment failure that we had seen over the spring and summer,” the town said on Facebook, apologizing for the repeated disruption. The ice has been in and out for much of the past month, opening to residents for days at a time before a new issue forced another closure.

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“I’m so frustrated,” Cynthia White, the town’s senior administrator, told Cabin Radio on Tuesday.

“We put in this ice plant in 2014. We’re going to have to investigate whether there was some sort of flaw in the plant. We get the technician up at least twice a year, often three times to service the plant.

“Is it a failure in the plant? Is it some sort of defect? That’s our next step, to investigate why our pumps are going out so quickly.”

White said the problem is not helped by the current global backlog municipalities are experiencing for the purchase of everything from garbage trucks to fire suppression systems. Spare parts are taking weeks or months longer to arrive than was once the case.

Meanwhile, there is once again no ice in Fort Smith. White said in this instance, the town is fortunate that a spare pump was taken away by a technician for refurbishment in the spring and can, with luck, be brought back this week and installed.

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“It’s important for us to have the ice in. The kids have missed a lot of ice over the past few years,” White said.

“My little guy went to practice early on the first day because he was so excited. Everybody feels the loss of the ice right now and our guys worked through the weekend trying to figure it out.

“I feel horrible for all the kids that are missing out on their ice time this year and I’m hoping we’ll be able to figure something out.”

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