Sewer questions unanswered

September 03, 1998|By MATTHEW BIENIEK

City residents who live along Hamilton Run asked Wednesday night why city officials could not nail down the starting date on a $3.3 million dollar sewer project designed to stop raw sewage from backing up into basements and backyards, and being pumped into Hamilton Run during wet weather.

The 50 residents who showed up at an informational meeting with city officials at the Morris Frock American Legion Post on Northern Avenue indicated they weren't satisfied with answers they got from city officials.

Rick Thomas, the city's Water Pollution Control manager, said work should begin in early October. Thomas said most of the work should be completed by late February. But he said contractors have 210 days to complete work.

Thomas said residents will be asked to not use their bathrooms during an eight-hour period when sewer lines in front of their homes are replaced. he said residents will be notified in advance.


"Is there a contingency in case of bad weather?" one resident asked. Thomas said the contract did not contain any provisions for bad weather.

Pat Creegan, who lives on Valley Brook Drive, said she was not satisfied with the information provided by city officials.

"We want to know when it will start, how long it will take, and whether our yards will be disturbed," she said.

"For having everyone in the city connected with water and sewer at this meeting, there seems to be an awful lack of knowledge," one man said.

City officials invited representatives from the neighborhoods to take their questions to a pre-construction meeting with contractors in about two weeks.

Thomas said the three phases of the project will run concurrently. On Belview Avenue, May Street, The Terrace, and the Oak Hill Avenue-Northern Avenue Intersection, the main sewer line will be replaced with new pipe.

The new pipe will be the same diameter as existing pipe. Thomas said the size will be sufficient because new pipe will keep out the 800,000- to 1-million gallon infiltration of water that gets into the sewer line during moderately heavy rainfall, he said.

"Once we get the extraneous water out, these pipes have plenty of carrying capacity," Thomas said.

The second phase will involve relining of the sewer main on Northern Avenue and the main line running parallel to Western Maryland Hospital property, he said.

The third part of the project will include replacement of the main interceptor pipe along Potomac Heights Avenue, Brookside Terrace and Valley Brook Drive, he said.

A consent order the city of Hagerstown has with the Maryland Department of the Environment allows the city to pump waste water into the stream to prevent sewage backups in several North End homes after heavy rains.

In May, the state gave the city a 175-day extension, allowing it to continue pumping waste water into Hamilton Run until late February 1999.

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