Pumping Jersey Shore’s Sewage Under Long Island

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It’s an innovative solution to an otherwise growing problem—in central Pennsylvania.

Nestled in Lycoming County, PA, is the Borough of Jersey Shore. Increased age, increased operational and maintenance issues, location, and proximity to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River required a drastic approach to a lingering problem—the desperate need for an upgraded wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Not only was the existing plant aging, it was too small to meet the new nutrient treatment requirements stipulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. At the same time, the community across the river from Jersey Shore, Nippenose Township, was in the process of evaluating the need and necessity to construct a WWTP, collection system, and pump stations to serve the Antes Fort area, which was experiencing numerous on-lot failures and issues. This presented an excellent opportunity for regionalization.

After evaluations by the municipalities involved, it quickly became apparent that the most economical approach was to bring all parties together and form the Tiadaghton Valley Regional Authority. This didn’t solve all the problems, as a new WWTP was still needed. The existing plant was too small, too old, and was located directly in the floodplain of the River. Not to mention, the neighbors were predominantly residential, which led to complaints of the odors coming from the plant. It was time to find a new location. A review of alternatives resulted in the selection of a 10-acre parcel of land from a farmer in Nippenose Township. The only problem with the land was that it was about a mile and half away. Not to mention, smack dab in the middle of the river at this location is an island known as Long Island.

The solution was horizontal directional drilling. An archaeological investigation turned up artifacts, not only on Long Island, but on the eastern shore of the River. We decided rather than moving these artifacts, we would just drill under them. The result of all of this was a 3,280-linear-foot directional drill under two channels of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and Long Island from the existing WWTP to a field on the eastern side of the River. From there, it was an additional 4,460 linear feet of open-cut through fields and stone roads to the new WWTP location. Due to the length of the drill, fusible PVC was used to withstand the pulling forces through the bore hole. The drilling activities took about 3 months to complete; the pulling of the pipe took less than a day. All the work related to the boring was completed in the late fall and winter to minimize impact on the farmer’s crops. A pump station was constructed at the old WWTP to convey all the flows under the River.

This WWTP has been running since March 2014. And yes, Jersey Shore’s sewage IS being pumped under Long Island.

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