Project has cost considerably less than administration predicted

The first portion of an extensive sewer rehabilitation project for the Brandywine Hundred is nearing a close.

Last Tuesday, Feb. 4, John Husband of the New Castle County special services division, gave a brief update on the project, which has been ongoing since 2002.

In that time, Husband said that crews have reinstalled pipes, fixed or replaced pumping stations, and that the administration established best management practices to reduce impact on the system in the future.

Problems with the system include leaking collector sewer pipes and manholes, streams flooding over manholes, and cross connections between sewer pipes, among others.

Husband said that the project, a 20-year plan estimated at $300 million, has cost significantly less than previously thought, with repairs up to today costing roughly $100.8 million.

"We had no idea how bad the system was, or how effective we would be with our rehabilitation," Husband said.

Husband said that crews have worked on an estimated 241 projects identified as priority one repairs.

The remaining phase one projects, Husband said, can be completed for roughly $8 million.

When asked what the timeline for completion on those projects were, Husband said it's hard to predict.

"It's going through the process now, where we have to get approval and get the contracts signed and the bidding completed" Husband said.

According to the county's website, Phase Two of the project will take place from 2015 to 2018 and will "continue the effort in areas where the sewer pipes have not deteriorated to the same critical stage as the pipes identified in phase1 but are still a measurable source of rainwater and groundwater intrusion."

The goal, the website states, is to reduce peak flow rates by 35 percent to minimize the financial burden of future upgrades and repairs on homeowners.