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Waynesboro considers new storm water pipe that could cut costs

April 23, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Savings are in the pipeline for the Borough of Waynesboro.

A new type of pipe being considered for the borough could substantially lower the cost for major repairs to the municipal storm water system.

The pipe, a hard plastic, is as strong as concrete, but costs one-third as much, Council President Craig Newcomer said.

"That drastically changes the numbers," he said.

Initial estimates for fixing parts of the problematic storm water system came in at $6 million.

Efforts are being made to start repairs to the worst outfall this year, but delays have occurred.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers classified the outfall as a stream, Borough Engineer Kevin Grubbs said. That outfall sends water along Cemetery Avenue in the area of South Church and Maple streets, he said.

By classifying the outfall a stream, a new type of permit must be obtained, according to Grubbs.

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"The permit application itself is very extensive, and the time frame (for a response) can be anywhere from six months to a year," Grubbs said.

Instead of installing a concrete aqueduct at the outfall, borough officials are looking to use Armorflex mats on the bottom. The mats have concrete block woven into them.

Grubbs said that two CON/SPAN arch structures would replace the concrete boxes under South Church Street and Maple Street at a total estimated cost of almost $450,000. Also, the existing gabion walls will likely be replaced with similar materials.

"When we reconstruct it, we have to keep it as natural as possible, so that means no concrete in the outfall itself," Grubbs said.

The aging storm-water system, which mostly empties into that one outfall, has been blamed for severe flooding in residents' yards and homes, and it has resulted in a lawsuit against the borough.

Borough officials want to get the outfall done first so that it can handle the additional flow that will come from fixing other areas of the system where rainwater gets backed up, Grubbs said.

The borough engineer has been known to get into his truck on rainy nights and drive to various areas of the borough to document the system's function.

Temporary fixes -- such as clearing debris, replacing a pipe off Green Street and removing channels in the South End of town -- have helped, Grubbs said.

"Even in the latest storms that we had, the ones that we just had recently this weekend, it was a big storm and the comments I got from a lot of the constituents in the affected areas were really good. They very rarely see flooding anymore because of what we've done already," Newcomer said.

Newcomer said the Waynesboro Borough Council has been awaiting new cost estimates before seeking outside funding.

"Now that the numbers are going down, and after we get all the figures with this finalized, that's when we'll be able to move forward with grants," he said.

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