ISLAND CITY — Island City’s city council approved a relatively small but critical expenditure Monday night.

At Monday’s meeting, the city council voted to spend $1,150 for the purchase of a power inverter. The inverter will prevent Island City’s water system from shutting down during a power outage by adjusting the electrical current from a generator.

The need for the inverter was discovered a month ago when the city was upgrading pumps for its well on Walton Road. The well, which has a diesel-fueled generator, serves as Island City’s backup well during power outages, said Karen Howton, Island City’s city recorder.

Once the pump upgrades were made, the city tested the well’s backup generator and discovered that the well and the water system control panel were not communicating when their power was provided by the generator, Howton said. This means in the event of a power outage the well would be able to continue running for only 20 minutes unless a technician arrived to make system adjustments.

“Water pressure would begin diminishing,” Howton said, noting that it would fall to the point that there would not be enough pressure to fight fires.

Howton said before the pump upgrades were made, the well’s system had no trouble communicating with the control panel when running on generator power.

The city had the option of replacing its generator with one that would fix the communication issue with the Walton Road well or purchasing a power inverter. The council decided against buying a new generator because the expense would be prohibitive.

“It would cost between $70,000 and $80,000,” Howton said.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer