Borough digs deep to improve infrastructure

April 02, 2006|By DON AINES


Much of what makes a modern society function - roads, sewer, water, gas and storm drainage systems - is the reason why the Borough of Chambersburg has been doing a lot of digging in the past two years to improve, extend and expand those systems to accommodate growth.

Excavating machinery was churning up the earth in a small park between North Main and North Second streets last week for one of those projects, the Falling Spring Interceptor.

The interceptor is a $2.15 million project to replace an aging and inadequate 15-inch sewer line with a 27-inch line extending 3,100 feet from a sewer line along Conococheague Creek through downtown to Grant Street.


"This is what makes the job so complicated ... you have to push a 27-inch sewer pipe through a maze of utilities in the borough," Borough Manager Eric Oyer said.

The project detoured traffic off North Main Street a few weeks ago to allow for installation of a section running parallel with the street, but Water and Sewer Department Superintendent Carl Rundquist said crews can bore under Second Street and avoid a similar interruption.

That old 15-inch sewer line "is literally full to the top" and cannot handle additional sewage without risking the line's failure, he said.

Contingency approvals have been given for development projects in the Gabler tract in the borough's North End and in part of Guilford Township, but "they won't go until this gets done."

That includes Chambersburg Crossing, a large commercial project on Norland Avenue that is to include a Target department store and other major retailers.

Growth, primarily residential, is behind the South End sewer project, which is extending the borough system south along South Main Street and west onto Mill Road. Originally intended to extend service to about 35 properties with on-lot systems, the line eventually could serve hundreds of proposed housing units in this largely undeveloped portion of the borough.

"Working this out with the developer has made this ... project feasible," Oyer said.

DELM Developers, which plans to build more than 400 units on the south side of Mill Road, will pay for much of the sewer work to serve that development, as well as a section on Progress Road north of Mill Road, he said.

The borough is building a $500,000 pumping station to serve the area, but will have a special assessment district for the properties connected to the station, so "we would anticipate the borough recovering all its cost," Oyer said. The borough also has a federal grant to help pay for its portion of the project, he said.

Rundquist said DELM soon will begin its portion of the project and construction of the pumping station will start in late spring. The entire project is scheduled for completion by the end of the 2007 construction season, Oyer said.

The sewage treatment plant for the borough, which also serves portions of Greene, Guilford and Hamilton townships, has a daily capacity of 6.8 million gallons and Rundquist said about 4.5 million gallons of waste is treated on an average day. With growth occurring in and outside of the borough, an expansion of the system is in the future, he said.

Oyer said the townships this month will submit their projections for 10, 15 and 20 years to determine how much of an expansion will be required to accommodate future demand.

Despite several sewer and water projects in recent years, including a new water main from Garman Drive into the south side of town, a water tower and the breaching of two dams, Rundquist said the borough has perhaps the lowest rates for those two utilities in Pennsylvania.

The average residential customer pays $44.08 per month for sewer, water and trash service, Oyer said. That is $3.68 less than a resident would pay for basic cable television service, he said.

Two other major projects are scheduled for completion in 2006 - the $5.2 million Village on the Falling Spring project in the downtown and the reconstruction of Roland Avenue, Oyer said. The borough will spend $1.8 million on Roland Avenue and other street projects this year and $3 million on streets through 2008, he said.

Last year saw the completion of the Norland Avenue extension of Chambersburg and a state project directly affecting Chambersburg, Exit 17 of Interstate 81. Another state project, the widening of U.S. 30 east of the borough, is scheduled for completion late this year.

The Herald-Mail Articles