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County Comment: Sewer projects end and start

County Comment
Sewer projects end and start
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

It's all about the capacity--sewer capacity that is.
On July 18 the Washington County Board of County Commissioners, the City of Hagerstown Mayor and Council and other local dignitaries dedicated the $1.826 million Newgate Industrial Park Interceptor Sewer project connecting the County sewer system to the City's sewer system at the pump station along Western Maryland Parkway.
The cooperative project allows the City to transfer some of the existing sewerage flow to the County's Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant. In its July 11 meeting, Department of Water Quality (DWQ) Director Greg Murray told the Commissioners that the recent 9-inch rainfall only caused minor incidents for the County sewer system, and that new sewer flow transfer line took care of 500,000 gallons of flow from the Hagerstown Water and Sewer Department during the rain event.
Washington County, the City of Hagerstown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the Appalachian Regional Commission, and a local developer all partnered to make the project a success.
The interconnector project was one of the issues that the County Commissioners and City Council worked on in its "2+2" committee meetings over the last several years. The project is an outcome of the Flow Transfer Agreement between the City of Hagerstown and the County Commissioners that was approved and became effective in 2003.
Project construction involved installation of 6,500 linear feet of PVC sewer pipe with some of the construction occurring in streambeds and wetland areas. A "jack and bore" procedure allowed construction to occur under Interstate 81.
At the start of the project, Department of Water Quality Director Greg Murray said it "will benefit the service areas by interconnecting the two plants..." to give additional flexibility in operation of the systems".
The ability of the system to handle part of the total flow caused by inflow and infiltration (I&I) due to the so-called "300-year rain" last month was an indicator of the project's benefit in emergency situations.
Storm water entering a sewer treatment system is expensive to handle, and impacts sewer capacity limits. A new project that began July 11 will reduce that impact in a large part of the County-served sewer system that was built in the 1960's.
The Commissioners heard a recommendation to award a contract for the Halfway Area Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project to the responsive, responsible, bidder with the lowest bid, Am-Liner East, Inc. of Sterling, Virginia in the amount of $931,345.20, contingent on Maryland Department of the Environment approval and a Budget Transfer in the amount of $500,00.00.
The project consists of furnishing and installing 14,120 Linear Feet of "cure in place" liner for 8-inch diameter sewer pipe, 1,109 Linear Feet of "cure in place" liner for 10" diameter sewer pipe and 416 Linear Feet of "cure in place" liner for 12" diameter sewer pipe. The contractor would furnish and install 352 lateral "Top Hat" connections: The contract provides for repair or replacement of 8" and 10" diameter sewer pipe at a linear unit price. The budget transfer allows for additional area to be included in the contract.
The project will upgrade the sewer system installed in Halfway in the Mid 1960's using vitrified clay terra-cotta pipe. The company will use advanced robotics to install the replacement piping. Residents should see trucks parked at manholes, but excavation should be minimal.
DWQ Director Murray said that the project would help to eliminate inflow and influx of storm water in the sewer system, resulting in an average of about 600 thousand gallons per day reduction in the amount of flow treated at the Conococheague Wastewater Plant.
He estimated cost for treatment of the storm water at $250,000 per year, and said that a like amount of sewer capacity would be freed for new development as well. The recovered capacity could provide up to 3,000 homes with sewer service.
Two hundred thousand dollars of the amount in the budget transfer came to the County from the State's Bay Restoration Fund, Murray said. Property owners across Maryland pay a $30 annual fee that goes to benefit improvement of the water quality of tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately of the Bay itself. Funds are returned to local jurisdictions to help improve, among other things, wastewater treatment facilities.

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