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Norfolk will decide how to cover new pump station payment

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NORFOLK - Opening bids for the sewer project in Norfolk are scheduled to occur this afternoon and town officials are discussing how to deal with four properties that are not currently part of the sewer system.

“There are four properties on West Main Street that have never been hooked to the sewer system. Under DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) mandate, as part of the project they have to be hooked up and the only way to do that is to install basically a small pump station. It’s basically going to be a grinder pump and a plastic tank where the sewer is going to discharge into (it.) Then it goes up the hill, because of the elevation, into the sewers,” Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice said.

“In the budget there is about $10,000 per property to do this. ... I think the fairest thing for those property owners is to have these things installed as part of the project and when we walk away, we turn it over to them. It belongs to them.”

Councilman Robert J. Harvey explained that he sees some potential pitfalls with the potential new pump station. “You’ve got to be careful what you wish for because anything mechanical that doesn’t run down hill by itself, anything mechanical will fail,” he said.

“Well, there’s a higher cost if we want to own them because then we have to get right of ways, deeds, and we have to maintain them,” Mr. Pernice responded.

“Our goal here is to make this system bulletproof and to make it better in the community. I can’t very well put something in their backyard and say, ‘Ok, here you go. It’s yours to maintain.’ I’m really not to keen on that idea,” Mr. Harvey said. “When you stop and think about it, they’ve got to be powered by the home owners. There’s a lot of room for failure.”

Councilman Kevin Enslow agreed with Mr. Pernice’s concerns about owning the stations.

“The problem is, if we own these pump stations and let’s say the power goes out, who’s going to pay for that?” he asked. “These small pump stations aren’t going to have generator back up. I’d rather give it to them and have it be their problem.”

Mr. Harvey pointed out that if the pump stations were the resident’s responsibility, and after installation they claimed they did not want the product the DEC would be talking with the homeowners rather than the town.

Councilwoman Jean Gang said that she was supportive of the idea for the new pump installation.

“I think this is a good idea. We’re definitely benefiting these homeowners by the initial investment and then they have to maintain it. I think we’re giving them quite a bit,” Ms. Gang said.

The town board will further discuss the issue with town engineer Aaron Jarvis, as well as the homeowners, at a special board meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 20.

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