Showell School Gets Connected

SNOW HILL – The long awaited public sewer and water connection for Showell Elementary School should be completed by the time school starts in fall 2010.

The design for both connections is complete, and money has been set aside to pay for the construction.

The bid package for the construction should be sent out in mid-January, said Worcester County Public Works Director John Tustin, who presented the project’s progress to both the County Commissioners and the Worcester County Board of Education this week.

“We’re excited about it. It’s like an early Christmas present,” said Board Chair Bob Hulburd.

 Service will be provided by contract with the Ocean Pines water and wastewater service area, although the school will not become part of that service area.

A pumping station will be constructed near Route 589, and the station will be concealed behind a wooden fence. The pump station will be as far south of the school as it can get without entering either the forested area or the drainage way, said Tustin. That site is also outside the 100-foot corridor meant for the future widening of Route 589.

There will be no sewage odor or machine noises, with the pump station underground, Tustin said.

The $1.3 million set aside by the county for the project will fund the $530,000 needed to purchase sewer capacity from the service area.

“So we don’t have to pay anything to the county?” asked school board member Sara Thompson.

“There’s no buy in for the school system,” said Tustin.

The school system needs 36 units of sewer and water service from the Ocean Pines service area, which will be enough to serve an expanded school building.

“The capacity is built into the new school as well as the adjoining properties,” Tustin said.

The current septic system and well will be capped, which will open up the drain field behind the school for other uses.

“That frees up all that back field so some time in the future the Board of Education could consider building a brand new school behind the existing school,” said Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes.

The school board was relieved that the failing sewer system at the elementary school is now on the road to replacement.

“We felt like we were sitting on a time bomb,” said Hulburd.