Homestead Village residents want sewage pumps fixed now - if not sooner

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:56

    WARWICK-John DiCarlantonio has had enough. The president of the Homestead Village Homeowners Association collected a large container of the dark, murky water that is bubbling up through a manhole at the end of Village Green Court and brought it to Village Hall last Wednesday morning. "I just want them to see what is going on," said DiCarlantonio. What is going on is that a 25-year old pumping station, which handles the waste of more than 400 housing units in Homestead Village, is failing. And it is failing more often than ever. Leyland Warwick Associates, owners of the land abutting Homestead, is building an over-55 development and has agreed to replace the outdated pumping system. The process is complicated — the system involves electric, dial-up alarms and a whole new configuration of the pit. Much engineering is involved, which is where the process is now. Some of the homes in the new development, called Warwick Grove, will use this pumping station, but not for another year. The people of Homestead Village, on the other hand, use this station 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is on its last leg. "You don't just go and drop in a couple of new pumps," said Mike Murphy, an engineer with HDR LMS Engineers in Goshen, the firm that works for the village. "We are working feverishly with the village and the developer of Warwick Grove." And it is costly. Replacing the two pumps, installing alarms and the electrical system that goes with it, the engineering and labor, could cost between $50,000 and $150,000, according to Murphy. Leyland has agreed to do it now, he added. "This has been going on for two years," DiCarlantonio said. "The pumps are substandard. They break down constantly and we are left with waste, toilet paper, you name it, all over the place. Last week it was backed up 50, 60 feet up the roadway." Because there are no alarms on these older systems, when the pumps break down, the wastewater can flow for hours, which was the case last week, according to DiCarlantonio. Murphy said much of the system is basically obsolete. It was built 25 years ago and has been repaired repeatedly. And it is not feasible to replace parts that break — some are not available anymore. "The DPW is doing a very good job keeping this working," he said. There may be light at the end of the tunnel. The engineering part is nearly over. Murphy said Leyland would be installing the new pump station shortly after the plans are approved, which could be by mid-October. The installation would take two to three days. The village has five pumping stations, which take waste from a certain area and pump it to a higher elevation. It then goes to the wastewater treatment facility near Jones Chemical using gravity to get there. In Homestead Village's case, the waste is 25 feet under ground. Pumps lift it about 35 feet to a manhole in Memorial Park. From there, gravity takes it to the treatment center Three of the five stations, including Homestead Village's station, are older and needing replacement, he said. "We have been working diligently over at Homestead Village to remedy this," Mayor Michael Newhard said. "Our engineer is working on it and he knows the urgency of it. We clean it up as soon as we hear about it." Newhard agreed that the pumps have been breaking down more often, especially over the last year. The Department of Environmental Conservation has been notified of last Wednesday's incident, since adjoining wetlands are affected. "This could be a normal break or it could require more diligence," said Len Meyerson of the Tarrytown region three DEC substation. "Anytime sewage overflows, it will impact those wetlands." Meyerson said his office was investigating how many times the DEC has been called to the Homestead Village pumping station, but that number was not known at press time. In the meantime, DiCarlantonio will keep on top of it, although patience dwindling. "But this has got to be done," he said. "We just want the pumps repaired, that's all."