Taxpayers be advised, that the faulty sewer pipe in question has no relevancy to article 10 in this year’s town warrant which we have recommended NO on! Article 10 ($2,000,000 ) does not address fixing sewer pipes from the Church Street pumping station to the Waste Water Plant or any other locations for that matter. This is a great example of holding back from spending on speculations or “nice things to have” so as to be better positioned to spend money on real problems such as this. Do not allow yourselves to be duped by this incident.
The pipe in question that is under the marsh runs directly from the Church street pumping station to the waste water treatment plant. There are two pipes at this location and they have never been mentioned, in public in anyway, as needing replacement. Interesting to note that the Department of public works has had $130,000 a year in their sewer maintenance budget for years but on average has only spent only $23,000 over the 4 years prior to 2015 and in 2015 spent $36,000 ($19,000 of which is encumbered funds to be spent in 2016). The budget has been used as a safety valve for over-runs that occur or may occur in the other parts of DPW budget or the Town. Little planning and execution has been noted here!
The problem at hand needs good sound management and it needs it now. No knee jerk reactions! Here are some of our thoughts on the matter.
- Both pipes that run under the marsh need a thorough camera inspection for their entire lengths.
- Photo’s need to be taken for any suspect area observed for objective evidence and public transparency as well as for evaluation purposes.
- An engineering opinion from a reputable contractor needs to be rendered as to the condition of the pipes as well as a recommendation as to the corrective action needed.
- Possible corrections to this problem, as we see it, that need cost estimates and public review are:
- An overland routing with a new pipe. Such a routing could travel from the Church street pump station under or aside of the bridge that spans the marsh and then crossing overland to the vicinity of the Masons structure on Tide Mill road. The pipe then could run above or beneath hard earth to the Waste Water plant. Maybe 2 pipes could be planned for this route so we can forget the pipes under the marsh and the risk they pose forever! This would need approvals from various N.H. State Departments and perhaps the EPA but so be it! In the long run this may be the safest and most cost effective solution of all and for all vested parties.
- The viability of the installation of a slip pipe that fits within the existing pipes that run under the marsh.
- The replacement of the entire pipe in question that resides under the marsh .This strikes RTOH as possibly the most costly correction to the problem. How long with that be good for?
- The replacement of only the defective section of the pipe. This may be shortsighted though depending on the condition the entire pipe.
There may be other suggestion or solutions but they all should be vetted in public with their associated costs. There is an obvious sense of urgency here as the Church Street pump station services a good part of the beach and summer is coming so we must get on with it in a hurry!
Now it can be seen why a sound fund retention policy is important and not the sort of discussion that has occurred in December of 2015 and in January of 2016 with respect to Town ordinance 611-3!