Emsworth faces sewer job

By NANCY WHYTE

Emsworth Borough is facing an expensive, unanticipated repair job that could cost up to $72,500. The emergency situation was discussed during Wednesday night's council meeting.

A storm sewer line -- which runs from a manhole along Route 65, travels down the steep hill toward the Ohio River and eventually under the Norfolk Southern railroad track -- needs to be replaced.

According to Dennis Flynn, a Gateway engineer, there appears to be a break in the sewer line. When there is a lot of drainage -- such as occurred during June's heavy rains -- the water flowing into the manhole along Route 65, close to the Emsworth pump station, backs up. At times the surcharge of water is so strong that it raises the lid of the manhole. The excess water then flows over-ground, down the hill and is eroding the hillside.

Flynn also stated the possibility exists that the sewer line is merely blocked and not broken, a situation that would lessen the repair project and thus cost considerably less to remedy. Camera viewing of the line has been inconclusive, he said.

According to borough infrastructure chairman Dan Lenz, the erosion caused by the excess water creates potential problems not only for the hillside, but also to Route 65 and to the railroad tracks.

"We need to move (on correcting the problem) as soon as possible," said Lenz.

A pre-construction meeting was held Aug. 18 with representatives from PennDOT, Norfolk Southern, Emsworth, and potential contractors present.

Lenz said that, at this point, PennDOT has stated it is not responsible for any of the repair.

After the work is completed, various methods of seeking reimbursement for the cost of repairs will be sought, including grants and payment requests from various entities.

Council approved spending an amount not-to-exceed $72,500 to make the necessary repairs. Included in the motion was council's request that Flynn obtain an additional bid, vet the contractors, and, using his expertise and fiscal responsibility to the borough, award the project to the contractor best suited for the repair job.

The decision and award date is scheduled for Sept. 16.

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