Marlinton Town Council received a report Monday night on the sewer system smoke test, which was performed by Dunn Engineering, in preparation for the town’s sewer system improvement project.
Dunn Engineering owner Wayne Hypes gave the presentation and reported that the smoke test is complete and there were several findings he needed to share with council.
“We’ve done as much of the system as we can do,” Hypes said. “There’s about twenty thousand feet of pipe that we can’t get into due to root intrusion and low swags where you’ve got sewage sitting on both ends and we can’t get smoke into the system.
“What we found are 125 violations and out of that – the most significant amount is in town,” he continued. “You’ve got twenty-seven cross connections to your storm sewers now. Every time it rains, you’ve got drop ins that are going into your sanitary sewer and that’s what’s causing the blowout down at your pump stations and at your plant.”
During the testing of the Campbelltown/Edray section of the system, Hypes said the crew discovered 28 violations – 11 of which are the town’s responsibility while the other 18 are the property owners’ responsibility.
“Issues over there that are of a major concern – we have two major yard drains that are draining people’s yards into their sewer system,” he said. “We’re going to give you a list – it’s part of the report itself – so that you can get letters out to the property owners and tell them to make the needed corrections.”
In downtown Marlinton, Hypes said the crew discovered that several older pipes are still in use although they were replaced at some point by a newer system.
“In town, there are some interesting things that we found in checking over with older mapping,” he said. “You’ve actually got in place a double system where some of the really old pipe appears to still be in service. You’ve got newer pipes along with that.”
To remove the storm sewers, Hypes said it would cost $8.6 million, which is the same amount as the grant presented to the Town of Marlinton by Governor Jim Justice last month. The grant will be used for that part of the project.
There is a separate section of the project where 20,000 feet of pipe and 6,000 feet of service laterals will need to be replaced, costing approximately $5.6 million.
Hypes added that the Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] is now allowing the portion of the project which will upgrade the existing pond and will eliminate issues with the collection system.
“We finally convinced them to look at this from a different angle and clean up your collection system and modify your ponds,” he said.
“As part of the plan, you’re going to have to spend about $112,000 in operation maintenance, just at the plant,” he added. “That’s something that you can never get grants to cover. That’s coming out of people’s pockets year in, year out. Reducing the project and changing the project, we are going to reduce the cost by $95,000 a year. That’s money that people aren’t going to have to pay dollar per dollar out of pocket, which is going to substantially reduce the rates.”
Council thanked Hypes for the report and ended the discussion with optimism for the project to commence.
In other business, council:
• approved the Region IV Resolution #7 for Smoke Testing – Sewer System Improvement Project.
• approved the Region IV Resolution #3 – Second Avenue Pump Station Emergency Project.
• opening a project bank account for the CDBG-MIT Stormwater System Improvements.
• hired Tom Jackson as the town’s floodplain manager.
• discussed coming up with ideas for ways to invest the CARES funds. The discussion will continue in the following months as council- members brainstorm projects for the town.
Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month, holidays excluded, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the municipal building. The meeting is also available via phone or Zoom.