The Alpha Borough Council passed an ordinance appropriating $900,000 for sewer infrastructural improvements at its meeting on Tuesday night. The ordinance also authorized the issuance of $890,000 in bonds to finance most of the project.
The other $10,000 is from one or more previously adopted budgets for down payment or capital improvements in the account "Water/Sewer Capital Improvement Fund."
Jim Hill, senior engineer at Frey Engineering, LLC, presented a detailed map to the council showing what preliminary work has been completed so far and where analyses have pointed out further need for improvement.
“As of today, we have accomplished over 50,000 feet of the borough,” Hill said, in reference to the scope of their investigative analyses.
According to Hill, this is the first time Alpha is taking a complete look at the system, rather than in sections. The state also mandates a certain level of maintenance for sewer systems that the planned updates and betterments will cover.
The sewer system is comprised mainly of vitrified clay and, since repairs and maintenance have not been looked into for several years, expected wear and tear is now taking its toll.
Tuesday night’s ordinance for $900,000 will likely cover all of the fees of this project in the coming years. Several parts of the project may still be put out for bid, including manhole inserts, grouting and root inhibitors, but they are not projected to surpass the agreed upon budget.
Hill and Frey Engineering, LLC have been working on this project for two years, with the bulk of their work taking place over last fall. The passing of Ordinance 2013-4 will allow and pay for the repairs Hill and his team have diagnosed after extensive analyses of the current Alpha sewage system.
The council also spoke about the need to identify sewage clean outs that aren’t working properly and the possibility of using smoke testing.This testing could help identify cracks and piping errors and will only take two to three days to cover the whole of Alpha. No decisions as to whether or not these actions should be taken were made.