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Harford County has to spend an additional half million dollars to remove obstructions, including rocks as big as 50 pounds, in a main sewer line between Forest Hill and Abingdon.

The change order is one of several high-end contracts approved at the June 22 board of estimates meeting.

Among the other contracts awarded was one for $6.3 million to American Infrastructure to replace the existing Church Creek pumping station handling 5 million gallons of sewage daily to one that can handle 8 million gallons a day, as well as to replace the force main leaving the station in the Aberdeen area.

The infiltration and inflow of water into lines of the Bynum Run Interceptor Sewer Drainage Area are being studied, and the contractor has encountered obstacles in the sewer line, which runs between Forest Hill Industrial Air Park and Bush Creek Pump Station on Route 40, Angie Hoover, civil engineer for the water and sewer division, said. The contractor has yet to fully determine what those obstacles are.

One of the biggest finds within the past month is large rocks, many almost 50 pounds, in the Bynum Run sewer line just south of the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs.

“I don’t know how they got there, other than vandalism,” she said.

The rocks, however, are not the main source of the sewer’s infiltration and inflow problems.

The work happening now “is just testing to find more. They have found a lot [of obstructions] so far but they still haven’t found a substantial problem,” she said. “There is something else out there and they are hunting for it.”

To deal with the obstructions, another $510,000 was added to the 2008 contract of $811,000 awarded to Hazen and Sawyer to complete the study.

Bob Cooper, director of public works, said the county has also been working with the town of Bel Air, which has part of the Bynum sewer, on the obstruction and infiltration problem.

Hoover said Bel Air did dye testing of its sewers, “but they didn’t do it right. They have been trying to do the fixes themselves, in-house.”

Harford County Council President Billy Boniface said he understands the importance of the problem, but “this is a significant amount of the original contract. Is Bel Air contributing or are we done with Bel Air?”

Hoover said the town did contribute originally; however, much of the work is also outside town limits.

“They are willing to work with us to fix it,” she said.

A contract for $509,000 was awarded June 22 to sole bidder Frank J. Goettner Construction Company for a variety of sidewalk and curb repairs around the county, which civil engineer Glen Hebel said is largely because of snow damage.

Boniface asked why Frank J. Goettner was the only bidder on a “pretty big” project, and Hebel replied the work is tedious and has many disparate pieces.

“A lot of contractors shy away from it,” he explained.

Goettner was also awarded a contract for $62,371 to relocate a sewer line behind Lowe’s in Abingdon.

Civil engineer David Peplinski said the work involves replacing two manholes and 250 feet of sewer, which has been threatened by erosion from nearby Winters Run.

County Treasurer John Scotten asked if the erosion was at all caused by action on the part of property owners, but Peplinski said it was not.

“It’s just a natural erosion where the bank keeps washing away, jeopardizing the sewer,” he said.

The board approved an unusual request from the procurement department to release a restrictive covenant on a piece of property owned by Rock Spring Swim Club.

The club requested to swap a 0.75-acre parcel at the front of its property for a 1.78-acre piece in the back so a road could be built through the front, but the property is under a restrictive covenant from the county to be used for recreational purposes.

Boniface asked if there is any historical reason why the restriction, written in 1974, was placed there, and Scotten wondered if the county is possibly releasing a restriction on a useable piece of land in exchange for a non-useable piece.

County attorney Rob McCord said he is not aware of an original reason and he does not know that “any of it is very useable by anybody.”

Also at the June 22 meeting, the estimates board awarded contracts of $77,639 to Fakouri Electrical Engineering for maintenance on power supply units countywide, $83,000 to Bay Town Painting and Marine Inc. for repair and painting of water and wastewater facilities and $36,500 to MLK & Associates LLC for the purchase of a new valve on the Bill Bass sewage pump station.

The board also approved two annual leases of $184,122 for the election office at 2201 Commerce Drive in Forest Hill and $121,015 for 133 Industry Lane in Forest Hill.


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