A deadline looming, and questions of cost

March 30, 2014

It’s beginning to look like Waynesburg Borough could have trouble meeting the deadline for completing improvements to its sewage treatment system.

The borough is required by the state Department of Environmental Protection to complete a project by the end of next year to reduce surface and groundwater infiltration into the system to prevent overflows at the borough’s treatment plant.

The project, earlier estimated to cost $4 million, was discussed on and off by borough council for several years. But only in the last two years, with the deadline approaching, has council focused on the issue with greater intensity.

The borough started to move ahead with the project, working more closely with its engineer to develop a plan to address the problem.

However, that work recently ground to a halt.

Fayette Engineering Co., the firm hired by the borough many years ago to design the project, presented council with a preliminary design in December.

Two months later, however, council agreed to purchase flow meters to place in the borough’s sewer lines to determine more accurately where surface and groundwater are infiltrating the system.

Council apparently decided the plan prepared by Fayette Engineering is either inadequate or too costly and a different approach should be considered.

However, by beginning additional tests now, after a preliminary design was already prepared, it appears the borough is starting from scratch.

Council also recently initiated discussions with the Franklin Township Sewer Authority on ways the two can work together to share services and possibly save money.

It may be too late for the present project, unless the borough’s plans are radically changed, but it could portend good things for future projects.

As we pointed out, this project was discussed for many years. During that time, council members, as well as borough administrators, have come and gone.

The one constant has been Fayette Engineering, and we believe they should have done more to keep this project on track.

It is what they are paid to do.

Council halted further work on the design until the additional studies are completed.

It also talked about contacting DEP to discuss, what one engineer called, a “revised approach” to the project, which we believe will include a request for an extension for completing the work.

The preliminary design prepared by Fayette Engineering estimated the costs of repairing the sewage collection system at $3.6 million.

That estimate didn’t include costs for improvements that are also said to be needed at the treatment plant.

It would be a shame to commit that much money to a project that may not even be the best solution to the problem or that could possibly be done for less.

We’re glad to see council is now much more involved in the project; it will have to remain involved in the coming months to see this through to completion.



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