Progress reported on wildcat sewers
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua Borough workers started work yesterday on a 400-foot long sewer line on South Railroad Street. The sewer line will be buried in a 9-foot trench that will eventually connect four properties on South Railroad Street.
Progress on Tamaqua's wildcat sewer situation is continuing, slowly, but surely. Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt informed council that 34 individual discharges from 27 properties have either been connected or found to be already connected, leaving 39 properties to still be addressed. "Of the 39, 11 do have a plumber to do the work for them and one of them has a lateral that is connected, but they have to do some inside plumbing work to connect it," Steigerwalt said. He added that the borough is currently doing work along South Railroad Street to extend a main so that people in that area will be able to connect to it.
Council president Micah Gursky asked where the borough stood with DEP, which had initially mandated that the work be completed and connections be made by August 31st. "For various reasons, the work has been progressing slowly," said Steigerwalt. "We asked for a six to nine month extension. The response is that they neither approve not deny the request." "They are happy with our progress and want us to continue working towards this and continue submitting quarterly reports."
Council received a letter from Christopher and Angela Carney, of 326 W. Broad St., regarding their property, which is one of the properties that needs to be connected to the main. Carney expressed frustration with the situation and with dealing with borough officials. Resident Anna Brose, who has repeatedly appeared at borough meetings to voice her disapproval over the handling of the sewer project, informed council that she has heard back from three more contractors who are not interested in connecting her sewer. "It's too labor intensive," she said. Brose has contacted 26 plumbers and only found one who is willing to do the work; however, she said that that plumber's quote does not include the excavation and replacement of the sidewalk, pavers, and curb that would be necessary to complete the job. "That was going to be my responsibility and would probably put my cost up to $15,000-$16,000," she said. Brose asked Council to let her know if they had any other suggestions for her on finding a reasonable plumber.
In other construction matters, Steigerwalt informed council that PennDOT has contacted him about repairs to the Broad Street bridge, next to the Tamaqua high rise. "They're looking at 2013," he said. "It won't be demolition and reconstruction. It will be more of a rehabilitation project. Putting a new deck on, sidewalks, extending the abutments under the bridge to provide more room for sidewalks." PennDOT will be holding a public hearing regarding the project in upcoming months.
Resident Ray Bonetsky questioned council as to the status of payment for the repairs the borough did to Pleasant Row. "Did we get the money from the railroad," he asked. Gursky said that the matter is scheduled to go to court. "There is a hearing in front of the magistrate for failure to repair the structure in November," added Steigerwalt.
Council also received communication from Beth Latanzi, regarding her mother, Betty Davis's, property on Hazle Street. The property that is connected to the Davis property is being neglected by the owner, who resides in Ireland. The property's roof was damaged during the hail storm earlier this year and is now causing water to leak into the Davis property. "If this continues to leak, it will turn into ice," said the letter. Latanzi added that either family members or neighbors have been taking care of the weeds and snow removal on the property since 2005. She requested that the borough do something before more damage is caused to her mother's property. Steigerwalt said that the taxes on the property are being paid and that citations have been issued to the property owner already. "The best advice we can give at this point is to hire someone to fix the roofs and then pursue civil action, but that not may be any better." Gursky said that if the property owner receives three convictions for the same code violation, the fourth violation can be filed as a criminal offense. He recommended that course of action, however, it will still not address the immediate needs of the Davis family.