GARDINER — Councilors voted Wednesday to accept one of the options they’ve been considering to eliminate sewage odors on West Street.

Engineers will use directional drilling to install a second, smaller sewer line to run down West Street, after problems arose during construction at Libby Hill Business Park.

City Manager Scott Morelli said sewage from Libby Hill takes a long time to get to West Street — and by the time it does, it is septic and “very odorous.” 

So when it rushes down the steep hill on West Street, he said these odors blow out of people’s roof vent pipes. 
The new line will separate sewage generated from Libby Hill and U.S. Route 201 from what is generated by West Street residents.

“Now that the sewage will be running down a completely separate line, there is no chance of the residents experiencing those odors,” Morelli said Thursday. “They would only experience odors related to a normal sewer system or if they had plumbing that wasn’t up to code.

“The other benefits of this course of action is that the new line should be able to handle all Libby Hill sewage when it is fully built out to capacity.”

Morelli said some minor repair work will also be done to the existing clay pipe line to extend its life.

He said city officials appreciate West Street residents’ patience. “Barring any unforeseen delays, we expect to have this work completed by the end of this calendar year,” he said.

The city budgeted $500,000 for the project.

In other business, the council turned down a request by Darcy and Alan Aronson, owners of Loads of Fun Laundromat, to amend the sewer ordinance that only allows abatements to be applied to the previous six months.

The Aronsons requested an abatement of approximately $40,000 including late fees and interest. They owe principal and lien costs of $3,275 from the billing period that ended June 24, 2010; $6,711 ending Nov. 30; and $4,922 ending June 16, for a total of $14,908.

“The council did not agree to change the ordinance to allow for an additional abatement,” Morelli said.  “Council did ask that city staff to continue to work with Loads of Fun and the building owner to see if we can reach some sort of arrangement that fits within the parameters of the sewer ordinance.  We will then be back before the council for a final decision.” 

Chuck Applebee, the city’s public works director, said Loads of Fun has already received a three-year sewer rate discount in 2003. The first-year discount was 75 percent; the second year, 40 percent; the third year, 30 percent.
When the discount lapsed in 2006, the account was returned to the full rate. Since 2009, Applebee said, the city has twice granted the couple “equivalent user rate” reductions.

“If the Aronsons had provided the city sooner with the proper documentation, as required by the ordinance, the city may have been able to act sooner on this matter,” Applebee said.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663
[email protected]


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