UPDATE Feb. 26, 11:45 a.m.: Public Works officials have confirmed that the sewage leak will not be fixed until Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the earliest, due to a delay in receiving parts from Texas.
The leak, which has been contained and is of no immediate hazard to human health or the environment, according to officials, will likely cost the town about $25,000 to fix, according to Bob Steeger, director of Darien’s Department of Public Works.
Steeger told The Darien Times that he will probably have to transfer money from a reserve fund within the sewage budget to cover the cost. The sewage budget is separate from the public works operating budget.
“It’s happened in the past,” Steeger said of sewage leaks. “It doesn’t it happen that frequently.”
Once the parts come in today, crews will be out tomorrow fixing the pipe connection, barring heavy rain, Steeger added. Further fixes at the location include covering the connection with an easy-to-access manhole, so if a future leak occurs it will be easier to reach. The cost of that project has yet to be determined, Steeger said.
Raw sewage continues to leak more than two weeks after it was first discovered by a man walking his dog on Cove Island Park in Stamford. (See map below)
Darien Public Works officials said the leak, which is trickling out at a rate of about a half gallon a day, is being monitored while workers wait for two parts to arrive from Texas. The leak is expected to be completely fixed sometime on Monday, Feb. 25. The sewage leaking now is being pumped by a septic truck, which is then releasing the sludge into Stamford’s sewer line, said Darren Oustafine, Darien’s assistant director of public works.
“We mobilized and we had trucks and backhoes there within an hour,” Oustafine told The Darien Times. “We’ve accepted full responsibility.”
Adverse health and environmental effects are likely minimal, as the sewage was being absorbed back into the ground and few people are at the beach during winter months, officials said.
The leak was discovered when a man was walking his dog and noticed some “gray fluid” seeping through the sand near the beach, Oustafine said. The man contacted SoundWaters, a Long Island Sound advocacy group, who told him to contact the City of Stamford. Stamford then informed Darien.
The pipe began leaking when a flange connecting a plastic pipe to a metal pipe failed, according to public works officials, who added that the leak remains because the necessary parts are not readily available.
Darien’s Sewer Commission meets on Tuesday, March 5, and public works officials said they will likely have a plan in place for how to improve its pipe system. Darien pays Stamford to treat its wastewater,
In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the Stamford Water Pollution Control facility, which Darien employs to treat sewage from residents on the public system, failed to report 25 instances that sent untreated sewage into the Long Island Sound since 2006.
Darien budgeted to spend $2.9 million on sewage management this fiscal year. The Stamford facility discharges clean water into the East Branch of Stamford Harbor.
Check out this weeks Darien Times print edition, on newsstands Thursday, Feb. 28, for a complete version of this story.