sewer pipe to be fixed
By April Durham
If weather permits, construction will start Thursday on a 70-year-old
clay pipe on Pennsylvania Avenue in Delmar. After a sewer line collapse
on Thursday, March 2, (at East Elizabeth going north towards East
Street) public works was able to clear the lines and continue the
But "it's nowhere near what it should be," said Roberta Glenn, Delmar
town manager. "Once an 8-inch pipe, now it's less than 2 inches."
"The problem with the Pennsylvania Avenue's sewer is the result of
deteriorating vitrified clay sewer pipe that is located close to the
former Conrail railroad line," said Jerry Friedel, consulting engineer
for the town of Delmar.
Over the years, vibrations and heavy traffic loads have caused the
old clay pipe to fail, resulting in soil entering the sewer system
and undermining the road. Most recently the sewer was completely obstructed
by soil and a sink hole developed in the street.
Each year the town spends a significant amount of money on replacing
sections of old pipe. In the past, the town has developed a capital
program based on priorities. The first project addressed in the waste
water system was replacing the 40-year-old pumping station (the main
pumping station) on Pine Street. Funded in 1994 -95, the project cost
In 1996-97, the Elizabeth Street force main (which is the primary
force main that takes the sewer out of town and to the pumping station)
The 1998-99 project worked on one section of a sewer pipe on Pennsylvania
Avenue. Last year, the town had a section of sewer pipe from East
Elizabeth to East Chestnut Street collapse. Correcting such a collapse
in a pipe that is nearly 12 feet deep is an extremely expensive process.
After by-passing pumping from manhole to manhole, the town was able
to keep the sewer flowing. The project cost the town $67,500, which
included everything from construction, pumping and photographing the
lines to engineering design fees. The town received state assistance
on the project through the Maryland Department of the Environment.
This year's project, which involved a section of a pipe on State Street,
has already consumed the $60,000 waste water capital fund set aside
for fiscal year 2000. Knowing that another rain could force the Pennsylvania
pipe to collapse again, the town was faced with two options.
"Every now and then you get a situation where we're not moving fast
enough, however it takes a lot of money to make these projects happen.
When you're talking about $158 a foot to replace [a pipe], the numbers
add up really fast," Glenn said.
town's first option in fixing the situation would be to do a repair
on the pipe. Meaning we would excavate and replace a 20-foot section
of pipe and put a pavement patch on top of the street. This would
cost approximately $4,000.
The second option, replacing the pipe from manhole to manhole, would
be a permanent fix. The town received estimates of between $30,000
and $50,000 to do that.
Replacing the whole sewer line from Bi-State Boulevard to Foskey Lane
would cost the town from $300,000 to $400,000 to replace.
On Monday, March 6, after receiving figures for all options, the Maryland
Utility Commission made a recommendation to permanently fix the problem,
manhole to manhole. Later that day, the Delmar, Del., council reached
a unanimous decision to proceed. The following monday (March 13) the
Delmar, Md., council affirmed the decision.
Contractors David G. Horsey & Sons Inc. of Laurel are expected to
complete the project within 30 days. The problem will be fixed by
replacing the existing sewer pipe in its current location with new
PVC pipe. The project will cost $31,000.
Presently, the town is in the process of applying for a Community
Development Block Grant for the project. Glenn said that the grant
process can be time consuming, taking over a year if the project is
funded in the first round and two years if it is not.
The Maryland Department of Environment, which funded phase one of
the project, has also been asked for continuing assistance on the
"These grants are competitive. There's a lot of towns out there that
have the same type of infrastructure problems as we have . So we attempt
to keep the projects affordable so it makes it realistic for them
to fund us. However, due to the urgency of the two collapses we need
to go in and request full funding," Glenn said.
The town will start its new fiscal year in July, giving an opportunity
to fund the project in 2001 and 2002. This option would still maintain
the town's capital funds in case other problems arose throughout the
"I know citizens get really frustrated of the multiple projects going
on in certain areas; however, we attempt to permanently solve the
problem when we plan a project.
"Sometimes when you live in a small town with limited funds you have
to deal with a lot of inconvenience but you get projects completed
this way," said Glenn.