system is the oldest and is worn out, having lived well beyond
its useful life," which is about 20 to 30 years, said
Councilman Robert Weiner, whose second district covers most of
the hundred. "It is 40 years and older. ... Parts of the
system are collapsing, leaking and backing up into [residents]
homes and businesses."
are not yet available, but it is expected that the work will
cost about $70 million, start in early 2002 and take five to
seven years to complete. County Council must approve the capital
budget, but is expected to do so.
about 1,600 miles of county-owned pipe, ranging in size from
three to 40 inches. Another 1,600 miles of privately-owned
lateral pipe link the county system to individual properties.
recently-published publicity flyer, Gordon was quoted as saying
that the county's sanitary sewer system has "never been
comprehensively rehabilitated" and poses a serious health
sanitary system, which carries flushed waste to a sewage
treatment plant along the Delaware River, is separate from the
storm-draining system, which carries untreated runoff to various
office did not respond to Delaforum requests to discuss the
situation and the project with county officials, but Weiner
confirmed that Brandywine Hundred has been targeted as the
highest priority in the countrywide program. He said that the
highest priority within that priority is replacement of the
Stoney Creek pump station located east of Philadelphia Pike and
Silverside Road. That alone is a $3 million to $4 million
publicity flyer indicated that the county plans to take a
two-pronged approach. While repairs and replacements of worn out
and damaged pipes are being made, it will seek out and stop
unauthorized and illegal uses which overtax the sewers. An
undetermined but large number of householders are believed to be
employing so-called 'French drains' which carry basement water
into the sanitary system. There also are other illegal hookup to
out there and now they can be found," Weiner said.
uncertain whether the county will seek penalties or just to have
such links disconnected. Residents
pay for sewer service based on the amount of potable water they
purchase over the course of a year. Using the system to clear
flooded basements and the like could be regarded as 'theft of
non-toxic smoke pumped into the sewers will permit determination
of the locations of breaks and cracks in the pipes. Recent
technology enables workers to thread polyvinyl chloride
plastic liners into existing metal or clay pipes to restore
their integrity. Both procedures avoid the necessity for
extensive digging for the buried pipes.
said a further problem in Brandywine Hundred is capacity of the
system. Most of the area north of Silverside Road, in
particular, has limited capacity because that area was largely
undeveloped when the system was installed. There are some places
in the hundred, he added, "where there literally is no
capacity to add even one additional house" to the network.
councilman disclosed that the Gordon administration quietly
terminated an agreement negotiated by the predecessor
Dennis Greenhouse administration to allow the Southern Delaware
County (Pa.) Sewer Authority,
to feed sewage into the New Castle County system. That
agency has redirected most of its flow elsewhere and expects to
have it all removed by the end of the year.
opposed that as a major issue when I ran for office [in 1996].
It amounted to selling them capacity that we didn't have,"