PITTSFORD — Voters will be asked at town meeting whether or not to take out a bond for $970,000 to replace two sewage pumps on Depot Hill Road.
“For as long as I’ve been town manager, we’ve had trouble with the pump stations on Depot Hill Road,” said Town Manager John Haverstock on Tuesday. “A few years ago, when we did our big sewer project, we replaced the pump station on Elm Street. Now we’d like to replace the two on Depot Hill and consolidate them into a single one.”
One of the pumps is at the transfer station. The new pump will be located there, Haverstock said. Because it will do the work of two pump stations, a larger intake pipe will also be needed.
“We’ve had a couple of engineering studies, both of which have concluded that these pump stations are past their useful life,” he said, adding that the upper station is about 50 years old, while the lower station was built in 1992 and had problems with its pumping rate.
Haverstock said groundwater infiltration has also been a problem with the pump stations. Sewage can’t get out, but water can get in, leaving the treatment facility with more material to process.
The pump stations themselves, given their small size, present safety concerns, he said.
They “require agile people to do risky maneuvers going inside the structure,” Haverstock said.
Also, the project calls for a device to be installed at the transfer station to automate the sewage aeration process. Haverstock said bacteria is used to break down the sewage. The bacteria needs oxygen to live. Right now, the machine that puts oxygen into the system runs all the time and uses electricity, which gets costly. Haverstock said the new device will measure oxygen levels and raise them when needed, using less energy.
He said the entire system only has about 255 rate payers, who will be responsible for the bond payment. Haverstock said all the town’s eligible voters are voting on it because in the event of a default, the town taxpayers will be responsible.
He said the town hopes not to spend all of the $970,000. The town is looking into low-interest loan options from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the federal USDA/Rural Development program.
There will be two public hearings for the bond article, he said. One will be at a meeting of the Water and Sewer Commission at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Town Office. The other will be also at 6:30 p.m. March 4 at Lothrop Elementary School. This will be the town’s annual floor meeting ahead of Town Meeting Day voting March 5 with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
According to the Select Board minutes of Jan. 16, the resolution reads, “Shall general obligation bonds or notes of the Town of Pittsford in an amount not to exceed $970,000, subject to reduction from available state and federal grants-in-aid, be issued to finance the cost of making certain public sewer system improvements, namely, construction and installation of new gravity sewer mains, pump station and forced main, wastewater treatment facility instrumentation, and related betterments, at an aggregate estimated cost of $970,000?”