Posted on July 31, 2023
Dredging at the Tarentum pump house likely will be postponed after bids came in nearly double what was expected.
The work helps make sure that the facility operates efficiently and reduces the amount of particulates to be filtered out at the water treatment plant.
Borough Manager Dwight Boddorf said council usually budgets $130,000 for the work, but bids came in at nearly $230,000.
Rising costs and an employee shortage appear to be to blame.
“We reached out to a couple of places. Some haven’t returned our calls, and one went out of business altogether,” Boddorf said. “It could be a matter of little competition and they can command prices. Some of it surely has to do with rising costs.”
Dredging at the pump house occurs every couple of years.
It’s significant because it helps remove accumulated sediment from the bottom of the river where the intake is located.
Council President Scott Dadowski asked during the council meeting July 20 whether pushing the work back a year would cause any problems. He recalled that the project is on the budget every three years.
“The longest the borough has waited has been five years,” Boddorf said.
A second option was to dredge a smaller section.
Council is expected to vote Friday to roll over the $140,000 budgeted this year and add $100,000 next year to cover the cost.
“This causes additional dirtiness in the plant and, as we know, there are already electrical and mechanical concerns with the water plant,” Boddorf said. “But the reality is that we don’t necessarily have another $100,000 to put in this year.”
The facility dates to the 1930s.
Boddorf said he was not aware of grants available for the work. Council already is waiting on word for more than $2 million across four grants from the state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority.
They include about $1 million for the water treatment plant storage and pumping project, close to $418,000 for raw water intake work, about $340,000 for a water plant electrical project and about $560,000 for mechanical upgrades.
Boddorf said he will seek an official recommendation from the engineer before the upcoming meeting.