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Work keeps pump station going, for now

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Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

A sewage pump station along Brownshill Road in O'Hara Township was out of commission earlier this week for maintenance that is expected to ward off a malfunction similar to one last winter that cost the township $50,000.

The 100 neighboring homes that use the pumping station were not affected, said township Engineer Chuck Steinert.

The work was extensive and required flushing the station in order to clear it of debris, he said.

“We have to take all of the sewage out of the wet wells and drive it to another manhole down the road,” he said. “We have to take the motors out of the dry wells to clean the lines.”

Cost of the project was not immediately available.

Some neighbors expressed doubt that the project was part of routine maintenance.

Ray Biernesser, 88, lives adjacent to the property that houses the pump station.

He said trucks had been traveling to and from the site around the clock.

“These stations are so old and they're supposed to be checking them every day,” he said. “I don't think it's maintained properly and this is why they break down.

“It's just more money going into this thing.”

Steinert said the work is above and beyond what the township crews do on a regular basis but the pump stations are so decrepit that extreme cleaning is necessary to keep them running smoothly.

“We have to do this kind of work every couple years,” he said. “These two stations are the oldest and they are in desperate need of replacement.”

That's something council members have been planning for five years or more. A $3.5 million project is on tap to replace three failing pump stations with one new one. Residents who still depend on septic systems will be required to hook into the new line at that time.

Steinert said the project is inching forward. He recently prepared information to be reviewed by Alcosan and is getting easement agreements prepared.

“Hopefully we'll move forward next year,” he said.

Biernesser said the new pump station will bring relief to him and others who live in the neighborhood.

“They need to get this done.” he said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at

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