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Delmont officials closer to pump station solution

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Delmont officials are on the precipice of finding a solution to a stinky situation.

Council last week agreed to advertise for bids to replace Cramer Pump Station, the oft-malfunctioning system that serves the majority of the borough. The project is more than 20 years in the making, officials said.

“This is a big deal,” Council President Jim Bortz said. “This is a fix I can live with. We'll all be dead and gone before there's a problem.”

The project appears to be a pricey one for the borough, which operates on an annual budget of less than $1 million. Borough Engineer Kevin Brett estimated that the project would cost about $777,000 but warned that bids could come in higher.

The pump station, located in Salem but maintained and funded by Delmont, has been in disrepair for years, officials said. Most recently, seals on the pumps have been breaking and requiring replacement. Officials also changed the chemicals used to process sewage through the station after residents complained last summer about the smell of sewer gas permeating barbecues.

Last week, Council Vice President Randy Cupps said he would be increasing the amount of chemical used again for the summer after Councilwoman Cindy Osier complained.

“The odor has been really strong this week,” Osier said. It's not pleasant.”

Officials hope to install a new wet well between the ramp and existing pump station, a new generator and a new roof, in addition to replacing four pumps. The new system would be gravity-based, instead of pressure-based, Brett said.

Under specifications approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the revamped pump station will include surface pumps. To access the current pumps, a worker must go about 30 feet underground, Brett said. That causes a lot of problems, Brett said.

“It's damp, wet and the motors go bad,” Brett said.

Officials last summer said they planned to obtain a loan to finance the project which, at the time, was expected to top out at $650,000. But the price of pumps keeps rising, Brett said.

The added costs will be worth the borough's while, Brett said. He anticipates that the pump station will last about 50 years and that pumps will need some maintenance after about 20 years.

Brett said bids will be opened in July, and a contract could be awarded in August. If work progresses as officials hope, the project would be complete by the end of 2013.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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