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City department honored for saving money

June 28, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN

The Hagerstown Wastewater Collection System Department was honored by the City Council earlier this month for saving the city about $308,000.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman attributed the savings, in part, to Department Supervisor George Fischer's management of Hagerstown's Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study, for which he used city employees instead of outside contractors.

"I think George and the crews did very good work here," Zimmerman said. "I think it brought both experience and knowledge that we can use in the future."

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The study included running a small camera through some of the city's sewer pipes to monitor their condition. In addition, 804,927 feet of sewer pipes were filled with a smoke-like vapor to check for cracks, and manhole covers were inspected for wear.

Contractors would have charged the city a little more than $1 million to do the job, Zimmerman said. The project cost roughly $700,000 under the city's management.

He said the money that was saved will be used to complete other sewer projects.

Fischer lauded all of the collection system employees for working together to accomplish the task.

Nineteen city employees were committed to the project from November to February, he said. The work was completed four months ahead of schedule.

Fischer said some of the more pressing problems that the study uncovered, such as worn pipes from the 1930s and 1940s, were fixed right away. Less serious problems that were found will be budgeted for repair over the next 20 years, he said.

Fischer has worked for the City of Hagerstown for 13 years, he said. Before that, he worked for nine years for the old Washington County Sanitary District.

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