MECHANICSBURG – Village Council learned on Monday that in order to help pinpoint the cause of increased wastewater flow to the sewer plant, the purchase of a smoke machine is required.
Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said the machine, which costs approximately $2,500, will allow the village to pump liquid smoke through the sanitary sewer lines to locate areas where water is leaking directly into the lines causing overloading at the sewer plant.
“We have an enormous amount of water still coming into the sewer even though we spent money on (sewer pipe) lining,” she said. “We still have something tied into it, either a catch basin or something else. We are going to use this machine to smoke the catch basins and try to map those and figure out where they go.”
During a typical day, Huggins-Davis said, the plant treats 150,000 to 160,000 gallons of wastewater, but during a recent stretch involving three to four rainy days, the plant was bombarded with 2 million gallons of wastewater over that period.
“You can see what happens when we get rain, and it doesn’t have to be 10 inches of rain,” she said. “It can just be a couple inches. Once the plant gets integrated down there, all kinds of things go wrong. We are going to try to figure this out once and for all.”
Also during the meeting, council approved Fire Chief Bob Keene’s request to spend $23,112 in funds remaining from a $140,960 grant Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS received in 2015 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.
Keene informed council that $114,593 of the grant has already been spent on SCBAs (air packs) and accessories. The plan, if approved by the federal government, is to use $23,112 of the remaining funds to purchase extra masks and bottles for the air packs, RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) rescue packs, hose nozzles, and extraction tools, which includes cutters capable of cutting through the newer steel being used by automakers.
The village’s share of the purchase would amount to $1,157 (5 percent of the total cost), while the grant would cover the remaining $21,955.
In other business:
•To help maintain village streets, Huggins-Davis informed council she is purchasing three pallets of crack seal filler and renting a crack seal machine at a total cost of $4,800.
“We are going to try to start saving some of the roads or preserving what’s left of them,” she said. “There are some I think this will do really well on.”
•In an attempt to provide village officials with another avenue for relaying information to the public, Huggins-Davis said, she is moving forward with plans to hire a firm to create a village website.
“I’ve narrowed it down to two local companies – one out of West Liberty and one out of Urbana,” she said.
•The village’s annual spring cleanup event will take place on April 30. Residents can dispose of solid waste by hauling it to Dumpsters located at the Street Department building on Mill Street. No hazardous waste or building material will be accepted.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.