OCEAN CITY — Now that the town’s main secondary wastewater clarifier has been fixed, it appears that the other two are in need of repair as well.
The condition of the town’s 29-year-old secondary wastewater clarifiers came into question again this week, as officials told the Mayor and City Council that both the center and the south secondary clarifiers were found to be in disrepair and needed immediate attention. Last fall, the town’s north secondary clarifier underwent substantial repairs that totaled $82,000.
“The repairs needed for the center and the south clarifier are similar to the ones that were needed on the north clarifier,” said Chief Deputy Director of Public Works Jim Parsons. “However, the condition of the clarifiers, although seriously degraded, is better than the north clarifier was.”
As a result, Parsons asked for the go-ahead to repair the south clarifier now and said the center clarifier repairs could be pushed back to next winter so that the town could use funds in the next fiscal year’s budget.
“During the peak seasons, all three clarifier units are utilized. In the shoulder seasons, we use two and in the dead of winter months, we only need one,” said Parsons, “but I’m confident we can get through this summer with two that are rock solid.”
The same company that did the job on the north clarifier has been pegged to complete the work on the south clarifier, but quoted the town a lesser fee, $77,000, according to Parsons.
“These clarifiers have been in constant use for the past 29 years, and we expected that we were going to find some failures when they were expected this season, but not quite as much as we found,” said Parsons.
In addition to the clarifier issues, Public Works Director Hal Adkins said the recent influx of poor weather is starting to worry him about the completion of another vital project in the wastewater category.
Adkins said that the town’s main sewer line reconstruction, which has been pushed back almost a month due to scheduling conflicts and the recent weather, is in jeopardy of being done at a time when wastewater flows are starting to rise again.
“We had hoped to do this job when wastewater flows were at their lowest point, but we are starting to get to a point in the season where the flows are going to start increasing which concerns me a bit,” Adkins said. “I do know that the crews are ready to get the job underway and repair the town’s main sewer line, but the State Highway Administration is just not going to allow any crews to start an excavation project while there’s several feet of snow on the ground.”