Sewer System Failure Results in Release of Untreated Sewage
By John T. Ryan
Peru – Peru’s aging sewer infrastructure became strikingly clear during the heavy April 6/7/8 rainfall as a red light flashed at the Maiden Lane lift station. Lift station pumps couldn’t handle the combined storm water-sewage flow resulting in approximately 500 gallons of untreated liquid flowing into the nearby brook and one household being without sewage service. Superintendent Courtney Tetrault delivered the bad news at the Town Board’s April 10th meeting. At some points during the heavy rains, 700,000 gallons, not the normal 250,000 gallons, were flowing into the town’s sewage treatment plant.
The Maiden Lane lift station was designed to accommodate Buttonbrook Parkway, Woodland Parkway and part of Maiden Lane. It was not designed to pump the Buttonwood subdivision (Winding Brook Rd. and Bloomfield Drive). Tetrault also said that some homeowners’ sump pumps are connected to the sewer system rather than draining into their backyard. He recommended requesting that these households reroute their sump pump drainage.
As they have done previously, counselors discussed contacting Buttonwood developers Donald Swain and Chuck Bedard regarding financing lift station upgrades. In June 2016, the town’s contract engineering firm, AES Engineering, recommended that the board impose a moratorium on adding any users to the system. Now the board is requesting that AES put that recommendation in writing.
In April 2015 AES recommended a $4 million system-wide upgrade. An expenditure of that size would be difficult given the fact that the sewer district has only about 550 users. Last year a hamlet-wide income survey increased the chance of qualifying for grants and earlier this year the board took steps to expedite the grant application process by authorizing funding for the project.