Under Construction: Sewer line separation project underway

By Larry McGuire
Of The Spirit

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The sewer line separation work that is partially paid for through the H2O Grant that Punxsutawney Borough was approved for, is moving along quickly thanks to the good weather.

"Mealy Construction began work this past Sunday and is working from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night on the storm sewer project that is taking place around the railroad underpass and the Punxy Plaza on West Mahoning Street," Brian Sekula, Punxsutawney Borough engineer from the Eads Group, said at Monday's Punxsutawney Borough Council meeting.

Sekula said Mealy Construction, the low bidder on the project, was planning to work 10-hour nights for four days, weather permitting.

He said the Libby Corporation, owners of the Punxy Plaza, were contacted and informed that some of its driveways would be closed at night, but that all would remain open during the day.

The Horatio Street and South Main Street sewer line separation projects will be done during the daytime, he said.

Larry Chenoga, council president, asked Sekula if he has been in touch with the residents on Horatio Street regarding the new sewer line.

Sekula said he has been in touch with most of them and would check to see if there was anyone else with a problem.

Chenoga said he would like Sekula to visit with all the property owners that are affected by the project.

"You can check with me or Eric (Story, council member), but there are some people who have newer homes who aren't sure of what kind of pipe they have," Chenoga said, adding that there are so many questions on Horatio Street because so many people don't know what they have.

Sekula said sometimes they don't know until it is all dug up and the contractor is reconnecting it.

Chenoga said that he and Story would be glad to go down to Horatio Street with Sekula and talk with the people.

"My concern is that there are people who are involved with this project who don't have the money to tie into the new sewer system," he said.

In other business:

• Sekula said the bids for the Elk Run Route 119 bridge replacement sanitary sewer relocation will be opened today and the survey work is continuing with some drilling and some soil testing work for the FEMA levee certification project.

He said so far the cost of the levee certification is approximately $70,000.

Chenoga asked what would happen if the levee certification isn't approved?

"If it is not approved then the borough will be into the issue of the FEMA flood insurance could be cancelled," Sekula said, adding that it is too soon to tell if there are going to be any issues with the flood control in Punxsy.

"I'm trying to get the information so I can get a feel for what that is going to look like, and we can intelligently talk at that point," he said.

"FEMA needs to see a copy of The Punxsutawney Spirit from July 19, 1996, and they'll see that the dike (levee) didn't fail then, and it's not going to fail now," Chenoga said.

• Sekula said the last information he received from the Primary Health Network — its construction plan — is being reworked to comply with the borough's storm water ordinance with the heights of its water runoff retention pond being changed.

In other business:

• A member of the community asked the members of council what can be done to put a stop to the constant vandalism and damage performed on the park benches and other park property at Barclay Square.

Chenoga said he agreed that the park belongs to the people of Punxsy, and he has asked for the police to put a stop to it if possible.

"We aren't going to put up with the vandalism, cigarette butts and destruction that takes place all the time," Chenoga said, adding that the police are beginning a new enforcement effort in all of its parks, not just Barclay Square, this week.

• Council received payment in the amount of $1,568 from the Groundhog Festival Committee Inc. from the vendor fees for all of the vendors selling merchandise in Barclay Square for festival week, July 1 through July 7.

Also, at Monday's meeting, council:

• Approved ordinance 1123, gas impact fee zoning ordinance and Ordinance 1124, the vacating of alleys along Route 436.

• Approved the expenditures for the following funds: $143,307.68 for the general fund which includes payroll; and $68,543.24 for the sewer system fund.

— Fund transfers to the payroll account: $77,432.50 from the general fund; $25,763.26 sewer system fund to payroll; $9,080.26 from the recreation fund to the payroll account.

— Total payroll for July: $112,276.02.