Aging Infrastructure At Local Levels
Prior to today’s water main break, Beacon had a sewer main break on February 24, 2019, as first reported by the Highlands Current, releasing thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage near Fishkill Creek in Beacon, according to state officials mentioned in the article. Drinking water supplies were not impacted, according to the article.
In May of 2018 a sewer line broke under Main Street and Tioronda Avenue in Beacon, causing waste to back up into the basements of some shops, and the closure of Main Street in that section during repair.
According to reporter Jeff Simms of the Highlands Current in a March 15, 2019 article: “Aging infrastructure — in many cases dating back a century or longer — is a major challenge for municipalities around the country. Because miles of pipe rest, in some cases, a dozen feet or more underground, repairs or replacement is expensive. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will cost $271 billion over the next 25 years to upgrade the nation’s wastewater infrastructure. And, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 95 percent of that spending will be at the local level.”
2019 Investment Planned For Beacon Water and Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades
On March 4th, 2019, Beacon’s City Council voted to approve monies being spent on upgrading water and sewer systems.
During the March 4 City Council meeting, City Administrator Anthony Ruggiero delivered a report on actions the City of Beacon is taking to repair February’s sewer main break. He also indicated that precautionary steps would be taken, with the city preemptively inspecting more pipe. From his report, for those who like details on how something is fixed, this a breakdown of what went on underground after the break. At ground-level, it’s easy to see a road get split, and then patched. But what goes on underground? Anthony breaks it out:
“Tam Enterprises was called in to install a bypass pump to relieve the sewer main to stop the overflow, which it did. City staff excavated the main, and found the top half of the pipe had eroded, leaving the top section of the pipe brittle. We determined that at this point they bypass through the night and requested that Tam return the next day and evaluate the condition of the pipe and begin emergency repair.
“Tam televised the section of the pipe that was being bypassed, and found remaining sections of the pipe in the same condition as the collapse, so upon further inspection it was determined that three manhole sections were deteriorated, so it looked like it was a larger section, which we were afraid of.
“Currently Tam is in the process of replacing 100 feet of the 14” pipe with 15” plastic sewer drain pipe. So we’re upgrading it to modern standards. They have been alternating use of the bypass by replacing the sewer main. The Water Department Staff has replaced 25 feet of 4” cast-iron pipe with the new 4” ductile iron pipe and replaced the water connections to 150 Wilson Street. Tam is setting up a road bridge at the intersection of Round Tree and Liberty to allow traffic flow.
“Once the new pipe is installed and the manholes are set, the remaining 14” ACP will be slip-lined to prevent any further collapse. Since this is not a standard size, we’ve had to order this. It is a three-week lead time, which we are already one week in. So hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will have this material.
“Also, I’ve instructed the Water and Sewer Department for any of this type of ACP pipe that we may have out there for us to TV to see how they are holding up, as a precaution. We are taking immediate actions and steps on this, and it will be resolved in the next couple weeks.”
Mayor Randy Casale Says Sewer and Water Main Breaks Not Unique To Beacon
After the City Administrator gave his report at the March 4 City Council meeting, the Mayor contributed to the conversation as monies are spent to upgrade aging infrastructure:
“It is not unique to see a pipe collapse in any one of the communities. We are upgrading and we have spent a lot of money on our sewer system over the last seven or eight years, and we will continue to spend that money to upgrade the sewer and water system. We are putting an Asset Management Plan together, which will hopefully put us in a position to do some planning ahead to be job-ready to get grants to upgrade them.
“This is not unique to any old city along the Hudson River. If anybody believes it is, they are living in Fairy Land. Read the Newburgh paper, see how many collapses they had right across the river. Read the Poughkeepsie paper. Read down in Yonkers. It happens all over, from New York City to Albany because everyone has an old infrastructure because the taxpayers couldn’t afford to dig up every pipe and put new pipe. They’ve been in the ground for 100 years.
“We’re working at it. As we get more income, we’ll do a better job at it. And we will continue to work at it. I want the public to know that. If they think that this situation was done through development, the last I looked at this City, there hasn’t been a lot of development up in that area.
“I know people want to blame it on development, but development hasn’t caused the problem. What has caused the problem is that the pipes have been in the ground for over 100 years, and nobody has put money into upgrading the infrastructure anywhere, throughout the United States. It’s one of the places the government puts the least amount of money - into infrastructure improvement. Pick up the national papers across the country. It’s not unique to this city.”
At that City Council meeting, the following resolutions regarding Water and Sewer Systems were passed.
Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of up to $5,149,152 Aggregate Principal Amount Serial Bonds of the City of Beacon, County of Dutchess, State of New York, Pursuant to the Local Construction, Reconstruction and Improvement to the Sewer System, in and for the City
Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of up to $1,823,000 Aggregate Principal Amount Serial Bonds of the City of Beacon, County of Dutchess, State of New York, Pursuant to the Local Finance Law, to Finance the Costs of the Construction, Reconstruction and Improvement to the Water System, in and for the City