Work is scarce in today's economy, a reality that was apparent at Tuesday's meeting of the Rush Township board of supervisors where a total of 24 contractors offered bids on a major sewer replacement project.

The ambitious sewer project has been in the planning phase for months and involves the neighborhood of Meadow Avenue in Hometown.

The project is necessary due to a malfunction in the present infrastructure, which is dated, and causing flooding issues at residences and businesses.

"It's the replacement of the sanitary sewer. The pipes are old terra cotta," explained Steve Simchak, board chairman. "The sewer line fills up with groundwater and doesn't let the sewage flow."

Facilities of Silberline Manufacturing, Physical Therapy Specialists, the Rush Township Elementary School and other sites have experienced a large amount of sewer line backups in past years due to antiquated sewer lines. According to reports, the project is being done in conjunction with Silberline Manufacturing's waterworks project, although Silberine is covering expenses for their portion of the work.

The bid process was broken into two portions, one for Meadow Avenue and the other for the Silberline portion.

After bids were totaled for both portions of the project, the low bid was $327,010, from Grand Prix Excavating, Route 309, north of Tamaqua.

Other bidders and their total bid amounts were: Anrich, Inc., $488,155; Arthur "Pat" Aungst, Inc., $699,808; C. E. Ankiewicz Construction and Excavation, $554,430; Dirt Work Solutions, LLC, $355,495; Ed Krasavage Construction, Inc., $506,977; Franzosa Trucking Co., Inc., $499,810; James T. O'Hara, Inc., $498,815; Joao & Bradley Construction Co., Inc., $577,200; Kobalt Construction, Inc., $549,950; Kriger Construction Co., Inc., $509,921; Leeward Construction Co., Inc., $499,460; Linde Company, $925,940; Livengood Excavators, Inc., $596,875; Mazzuca Enterprises, Inc., $411,350; Muschlitz Excavating Inc., $599,599; N. Abbonizio Contractors, Inc., $450,517; Pedricks Contractor, $529,270; Pioneer Construction Co., Inc., $556,865; R-111 Construction, $441,391; RGC Development, $429,530; Sikora Bros. Paving, Inc., $478,520 and Wexcon, Inc., $551,190.

Meadow Avenue is located north of Route 54 and just west of the new Turkey Hill Minit Mart.

The project involves replacing 6,500 feet of 8-inch terra cotta pipe installed after World War II, and replacing it with PVC and also replacing about 25 manholes.

Funding sources include PennDOT, PennVEST, a private bonding company, the Commonwealth Financing Authority, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing program and the Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance.

In January, supervisors increased sewer fees in Hometown from $117.81 to $172 per quarter.

The supervisors will review all of the bids to verify conformity to bid requirements before awarding the bid at a regular meeting in January.