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Thurmont sewer repairs to start

Ingrid Mezo

(1/27) The first phase of repairs to Thurmont’s sewage system is expected to start in six to eight weeks, said Gary Dingle, the town’s superintendent of water treatment and sewer collection system.

During a special meeting Jan. 19, town officials awarded the $1.6 million bid for the repairs to Ross Contracting of Mount Airy. The town and the company are still completing paperwork to execute the contract, Dingle said, and will not be able to start construction until they have been able to order all the parts necessary for the job.

‘‘The contract is for 150 days from start to finish, to get all the work done from the time all documentation is signed and ready to go," Dingle said.

The town had budgeted $1.1 million for the repairs and received a $1.9 million bid for the project from W.F. Delauter & Son in Thurmont over the summer. The town’s engineering consultants told town officials if they re-bid for repairs later in the year, they should get back a bid closer to what they budgeted.

A fall 2004 study by Arro Consulting found several problems the town plans to fix during the first phase of repairs. The $40,000 study involved a manhole-by-manhole inspection from midnight to 4 a.m., when the lowest flows would be expected, to identify where the worst problems in the current sewer system are, Mayor Martin Burns said.

Engineers placed flow meters in the areas targeted as having the greatest infiltration and inflow problems, resulting from groundwater or surface water seeping into the pipes through cracks, Burns said. They then used telescope cameras through the lines to try to identify where the cracks were.

‘‘All over town we found cracks," Burns said.

When 4 inches of rain fell over a few days in 2003, it caused severe flooding and sewage backup into some residents’ homes. Several residents filed a $4 million lawsuit against the town as a result of sewage backing up into their homes. A trial is expected to take place in July, according to documents on file at the Circuit Court.

During the 1980s, sewer pipe put down in the town was made out of PVC, a rigid plastic that is much more resistant to cracks than the older terra cotta pipes. This material will be used to replace pipes during the repairs.

Dingle said he still has to meet with Ross Contracting to determine the order in which repairs will take place.

‘‘This is so scattered out," Dingle said. ‘‘We first have to decide which manholes we’re going to replace and which ones we’re just going to line."

In addition to repairing the manholes, the first phase of the project will involve repairs to the main line as well as lateral lines connecting homes to the sewage system.

Dingle said he has already met once with Arro Consulting to initiate the next study of where sewer system repairs need to be made. The town budgeted $40,000 for that study.

Under construction

The following areas of Thurmont will be under construction during the first phase of sewage system repairs, according to water superintendent Gary Dingle:

  • West Main Street in the vicinity of Altamont Avenue
  • Frederick Road near Moser Road
  • Sandy Spring Lane off Church Street
  • Dogwood Avenue and Vista Avenue

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