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Town using old line to help
current sewer problem

(12/6) It may be old sewer lines that got the Town of Thurmont into the legal troubles it is facing, but old sewer lines are now giving the town some relief.

Town staff recently identified an abandoned sewer line in the Ironmaster Court area of town, which is among the lowest points in the town sewer system and the area where the system has backed up in the past.

“Town staff feels that by using it we can have a possible leveling off of some flows. They think a leveling off will help reduce the stress on the system,” said Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee. He said an average of 67,000 gallons of wastewater a day, or the equivalent of about 268 houses’ wastewater, can be diverted from the overburdened lines through the abandoned line.

“They cleaned out the line and pumped water through it and found out it was still usable,” said Mayor Martin Burns.

Blakeslee noted that a pumping station was originally used to pump wastewater through the line and the town will need a pump to use the abandoned line again. The commissioners approved renting a pump temporarily to see how well the old line functions during a real rain event. Refurbishing the line could cost between $60,000 and $150,000 depending on how the commissioners proceed after testing the line, according to Blakeslee.

“This is just another emergency measure to divert flows to protect homes,” Burns said.

The town is currently facing its second multi-million lawsuit because of sewer lines backing up in residents’ homes.

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