NORFOLK - After some initial opposition and debate, a handful of Norfolk property owners have accepted the towns plan to install grinder pumps as part of their upcoming sewer project.
The town board welcomed five residents who own four homes on lower West Main Street to a meeting last week to talk about the steps needed to add them to the municipal sewer system.
Heres where were at. As part of our ongoing sewer project, the (Department of Environmental Conservation) has mandated that we hook these four properties up to the sewer system. Weve got a plan, (and) weve got a design concept. Obviously it can be revised to save a little bit of money, but our sewer ordinance says the home owner must bring it to the sewer up to the property line, Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice said.
Where were at right now is, as part of the project, the town will install the grinder pumps and all of the piping through the road at no cost to you guys. But when we walk away, were going to turn it over to you. Its yours.
Following the installation of the pumps, the owners will be responsible for maintenance and all further costs.
After voicing her displeasure with the situation, Margaret LaDue, 72 West Main St., was told by Mr. Pernice there was an alternative.
Heres the flip side of that. If you dont do it, youre going to be dealing with the DEC. Theyre probably going to come in and find you, and make you put it in completely, he said.
So what youre saying is because we have been pushed to the bottom of the ladder and you have gotten grants to hook us up - now were being penalized now, where other people that are on a pumping station dont have to pay? Mrs. LaDue asked.
Mrs. LaDue added that she would sign over the property to the town for the installation and they should maintain it.
What you dont understand is we cant own or work on something thats not on town property, Mr. Pernice responded.
We just told you well give you the property, Mrs. LaDue said.
Youre increasing our costs, our legal costs, Mr. Pernice said.
Well, youre going to increase my costs against somebody thats already getting the benefits. Its not right, she said.
Mr. Pernice told the residents the installation is a compromise and that their sewer rates can be negotiated.
Youve got to understand we dont have to do anything. We could go ahead with the project and tell the DEC, Go ahead and deal with them. Were trying to compromise by paying to install them. They are going to be about $20,000 apiece, Mr. Pernice explained.
Town engineer Aaron Jarvis notified those in attendance last week that the cost to run the pumps for a month was very miniscule but did not have the exact figures.
Timothy Oakes, 84 West Main St., told the town board that he was fine with the new pumps as long as they were installed correctly.
Im fine with maintaining whatever you guys install as long its installed correctly. Im good with it, Mr. Oakes said.
Mr. Jarvis said that the pump system maintenance will be minimal. Its just a round, plastic chamber thats buried in the ground. The chamber that (the pump) will run into, that will fill up once or twice a day. So that pump will run for a couple of minutes, once or twice a day, and if that pump goes bad - the type that we have here, its a cartridge. So theres an electrical plug in, a pipe in, a pipe out, you pull one out, put the other one in and hook it back together and turn the power back on, he said.
Mr. Pernice told the citizens that the bottom line is, due to DEC regulations, the installation will be done no matter what.
The bottom line is the DEC says (this) has to be done. Legally, (the town board) doesnt have to do a thing. We thought this was a pretty fair compromise, he said. ... Bottom line is its got to be done, whether we do it or you do it. If you do it, obviously were not going to help you. If the DEC gets involved, theyre probably going to slap a fine on you until you fix it. Basically people like me and (Councilwoman Jean Gang), who live in the (sewer) system, are going to pay to put your pumps in. Theres no other way to put it.