Project engineers from Benesch Engineering Firm, local township supervisors, and area residents living on or around Meadow Avenue in Hometown attended an informal Rush Township Meadow Avenue Sewer Line Replacement Project community briefing Tuesday evening at the township municipal building.

The township held the briefing to give residents the opportunity to see and discuss how this project affects them.

Various technical, financial, and time aspects of the project were brought up during the briefing. Supervisor Robert Leibenperger started off the informal briefing with project engineers David Horst and William Orlowski of the Benesch Engineering Firm, Pottsville, which have experience engineering a number of other waterworks projects in the area, by discussing the need for new sewer lines on and around Meadow Avenue.

About 50 local area residents and a number of businesses, such as Silberline Manufacturing, Physical Therapy Specialists, and the Rush Township Elementary School, have experienced a large amount of sewer line backups in past years as the old sewer lines show their time. The project is being done in conjunction with Silberline Manufacturing's own waterworks project, although Silberine is covering all of the expenses on their end.

Leibensperger stated that some of these lines weren't meant to be in the ground for more than 40 years and need to be replaced. Horst displayed detailed plans of the project and pointed out one of the main objectives of the Meadow Avenue Project design, in addition to replacing some of the infrastructure that was already replaced, is to look at ways to improve it, such as improving the depth of the line from four to five feet, which is currently above the waterline, to a lower depth around six feet deep and putting in new lower splitting lines that separate the flow, possibly strengthen the pressure flow and relieving some of the backup.

Each new eight-inch line will have a lateral line that will tie back into the old lines to the homes and businesses.

Despite some residents objections, the engineers pointed out that the lines couldn't be too big, as this could lead to low pressure flows and even more frequent blockages.

The other sewer line that will be replaced will be under Jeffrey Bnosky Street. Some other streets in Hometown that will be affected by this project are Carmen Street, Grove Street, Mariner Street, Sunset Lane, and Oak Lane.

Currently, the supervisors don't intend to replace a line across Route 309. Since construction of each new line will mirror each old line, residents and businesses shouldn't expect any lengthy problems. They also pointed the out the angle of slope needed for these non-pressured sewer lines, pointing out that underground forces move in ways that affect the sloping flow of liquids.

Although most residents aren't expecting to incur any charges from this project, some residents might opt to prevent future expenses by talking with the contractor to replace old pipes leading from their home and connecting with the main sewer line, as they will already be digging there. This will be between the contractor and the home owner.

Horst and Leibensperger expect the project to cost about $460,000, which includes a contingency of $15. Since this is below $500,000, this project doesn't qualify for a low interest Pennvest loan. Leibensperger also stated that grants aren't currently available and that a loan will be contracted out for the project.

Leibensperger and Supervisors Chairman Stephen Simchak stressed that raises were enacted starting in January of this year to cover the cost of this project. The project is expected to start after the contract is awarded, although weather and other possible factors could delay the start of the project to spring of next year.

The engineers and the supervisors will have another community briefing after the contracts are awarded, probably in November. After the briefing, residents were encouraged to look over the plans and ask questions. Residents that weren't able to attend the briefing are encouraged to stop by the township municipal building to see the project engineering plans made by the Benesch Engineering Firm.