Darien residents urges town to address pump station before accident occurs
A recent mishap with a sewage pipe in Greenwich has spurred one resident to push harder to bring Darien's sewage main up to date.
Representative Town Meeting District 2 member Chris Noe said Darien could be facing the same issue as Greenwich.
"The Stony Brook pump station was opened in 1938," Noe said. "It was the first sewer project in the town."
Noe said the station currently serves about half of the town's 6,600 homes but the station is working well above its capacity.
"The station pumps about 1 million to 1.5 million gallons of water a day," Noe said. "The pipe leaving the station is the original pipe, which makes it 73 years old."
In 2005, an engineering firm, Malcome Piernie published a report about how much water was flowing into the station. The report found that the station had about 4.7 million gallons of water flowing into it, which was about 1 million gallons more than the station was designed to handle, Noe said.
"The facts are all there but nobody wants to do anything about it," Noe said. "The reality is that we know the line has issues."
Noe said replacing the pipe would cost about $1 million -- a potentially cheaper cost than if the pipe were to fail.
"It would cost about $600,000 to replace the pipe and another $400,000 to repave Route 1," Noe said. "Let's just spend the money now before we pay more in fines."
Greenwich was recently fined $200,000 after a sewer main ruptured and dumped 28 million gallons in the Mianus River in December of 2008, the Greenwich Time reported. The Time quoted First Selectman Peter Tesei saying the town didn't have an alternative to dump the sewage because it would have backed up into residents' homes and caused a health hazard.
Noe said the current 12-inch cast iron pipe should be replaced with a 16-inch plastic pipe. Adding to the potential for problems is the fact that more homes on Goodwives River will be tying into the town's system, Noe said.
"The people who live on Goodwives River don't realize they are tying into a system that is ready to explode," Noe said.
As an added benefit for replacing the pipe, Noe said the town could save money on its electric bill because the three generators located in the Stony Brook pump station wouldn't have to be running constantly.
"Stony Brook has three generators and one of them is running all the time," Noe said. "As more water flows through the station it will activate a switch to turn on the second generator and then the third if it is necessary. Since the station is working well above capacity, those generators are running all the time."
First Selectman David Campbell said a force main on Tokeneke Road was replaced this year and the Stony Brook pump station force main is being looked at by the sewer commission. Campbell said the sewer commission is waiting for more information before any potential work would be done on the pipe.