Engineers update town officials on phases, costs of town sewer upgrade

Three phases estimated to cost more than $25 million


Representatives from RK&K Civil Engineering briefed town officials about the phases and costs of the Hancock wastewater project moving forward during last Wednesday’s town meeting.

The meeting was held virtually on January 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Cole and Kelly Duffy presented officials a digital version of their document, one of which was over 612 pages in length. They only presented a small number of those pages showing the first three stages of the major project.

The three stages are estimated to cost $25,087,900.

Cost estimates are based on recent equipment costs RK&K, some of those have are two years old.

On each phase of the project, the costs will be updated as things change from concept to design.

“We update the estimate as we go through, so you have the latest and greatest,” Cole said.

Phase 1 would see a new wastewater treatment plant and a rehabilitation of the pump station near the NAPA store on Main Street. This station would become the influent pump for the plant, Cole said.

The first phase would cost an estimated $18,278,200, said company officials. In the previous presentation during the October meeting, they estimated this phase would cost $13 million, but did not include the NAPA station in that scope of work.

Hancock’s lagoon wastewater treatment system will be upgraded.

Duffy said the site plans would see the new facility moved up the hill from the current lagoon system, out of the floodplain.

The USDA wants the wastewater system moved, not only out of the 100-year flood plane, but also the 500-year flood plane as well, they said.

“That’s a USDA requirement for projects they’re going to fund,” she said.

There is a flat area above the current lagoon, she said, and the Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) has been revised to reflect the change. All the technical aspects remain the same for the new location.

Duffy said they’ve looked at adding pumps at the NAPA station large enough to get contents up the hill while still continuing to service the area.

Phase 2 would be an ionized study of the entire collection system, which is where the problematic areas will be pinpointed throughout the system for repair.

This includes rehabilitating manholes as well and the three other pump stations on Pennsylvania Avenue, Center Street, and the pump station behind Subway.

There has also been a site identified for a new Public Works facility.

This phase would cost and estimated $5,450,100. The costs come from construction plus the engineering, administration, and legal work, Cole said.

Cole said the infiltration of the wastewater system is caused by the water runoff from drain spouts or downspouts directly flowing into manholes, or even surface water or rainwater getting directly into the sewer system.

He said at sometime, nobody knew what to do with those downspouts, so they ran them into the sewer and “out of sight, out of mind,” instead of running them through the yard.

“We need to get rid of that,” Cole said.

That infiltration is what causes the brick in the town’s system to crack or break. It also adds gallons of runoff to the sewer treatment system’s daily capacity.

Part of the manhole rehab would be making them more watertight.

Phase 3 of the project will address the annexed area on Warfordsburg Road as well as Lanco and a future business park and residential housing in that area.

The estimated cost for that phase is $1,359,000.

Mayor Ralph Salvagno said that becomes the most important piece of any type package the town could offer a potential business that could locate in that part of Hancock.

The time frame started on January 11 with submission of the PER to the town, state, and USDA. By the end of the month, Cole said applications to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for funding are due.

Next month, engineers predict submission of USDA funding applications, starting the design stages, and coordinating with MDE on starting efforts.

Once construction starts, Cole said October of 2023 would be the possible operational date for the new wastewater facility.

Salvagno said officials will get the funding applications set up and keep RK&K updated on annexation and other important issues dealing with infrastructure.

“This is part of kind of revitalizing the whole infrastructure of the town,” the mayor said.