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Unsightly Pump Station Fix Could Cost Fenton Nearly $100,000

Property owners are upset with aesthetics of the Briarwood sewer pump station.

A small pump station turned into big problem for one Fenton couple and the price tag to fix it could be near $100,000.

When workers were installing the improvements to a on Briarwood Street two years ago, Fenton resident Elizabeth Lum-Budry said she was told it would be a small structure and the family wouldn't notice it. But the structure turned out to be larger than many thought it would be and Lum-Budry felt it affected the property values and aesthetics of their home.

Fenton City Council has approved the expenditure of up to $90,099, to improve the look of the The cost estimate for the work in May was $52,000, said an Aug. 22 letter from the engineering firm for the project.

Fenton officials asked the engineering firm of Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. (HRC) to develop a plan to place the lift station control panel underground and move the vent pipes to a better location, Public Works Director Daniel Czarnecki said in an Aug. 24 report to City Manager Lynn Markland. Although the amount for the project is more than expected, there's money in the sewer fund to cover it, Czarnecki said.

Michael Darga, from HRC, said the walls for the lift station control panel need to be 12 inches thick, instead of six as originally planned. It's due to the fact the structure is close to the edge of the road, he said. In addition, the structure's bottom needs to be lowered from what was originally planned. These issues make it a larger structure.

Councilwoman Pat Lockwood asked about drawings to show what it will look like when it's finished. The issue the first time was, the lift station wasn't what people expected.

Councilman Ben Smith said he's very disappointed about how HRC went about it, and that the underground portion wasn't addressed the first time.

Electrex Industrial Services, of Harrison Township, submitted the low bid of $90,099, Darga said in his Aug. 22 letter to Czarnecki. The highest bid was $136,900. Council selected Electrex for the project, 5-0. Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl King and Councilman Les Bland were absent.

Landscaping will be addressed as the city moves forward with the project, Czarnecki said. Administration will see what is acceptable to the homeowners.

Jason Alexander (Editor) August 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
What do you think?
John McKay (Editor) August 28, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I grew up in that subdivision a street over on Worchester. Definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing addition. I'm not sure about the logistics of doing so, but it seems that the nearby green space that used to be a pond at the end of Worchester might have been a better spot for an operation like this. Given that both Pat Lockwood and Les Bland had both lived in this sub before, I'm sure they can find a creative solution.
star August 28, 2012 at 09:33 PM
I think no one really cares except the homeowner and our word now a days don't mean squat, $ talks.
Alexis Leigh August 28, 2012 at 11:07 PM
What an unfortunate situation for the homeowners. I can understand why they would be upset.
Helena August 30, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Did the homeowner move in before or after the pump was put in? That pump has alleviated 30+ years of misery for some of us in the neighborhood.
John McKay (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Helena, I do recall looking forward to at least one major basement flooding per year when I grew up in that neighborhood. Hopefully the pump station has alleviated that. It was pretty bad for as long as I could remember. I grew up on the 700 block of Worchester.
Anna Troppens August 30, 2012 at 03:26 PM
The homeowners were there before the pump was installed, they said at a city council worksession.
Dibbleville Resident September 05, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Somebody needs to be held accountable for spending 100,000 dollars of unbudgeted city funds to hide a sewer pump station. If this was a DPW/City Council oversight/mistake, then admit it and let the public weigh in on your performance. If it was the engineering firm, then they should pay for to rectify the issue. I assume that this pump sits on an easement belonging to the city. Just because neighbors complain doesn't mean this project should be approved especially when it is now 35K over what it was expected to cost. Worst case, the city could have negotiated a nuisance payment to the homeowner for a value far below what it will cost the taxpayers to hide an engineering mistake. And just because there are funds in the sewer fund, it doesn't mean that they should be spent on this. Use them instead to improve drainage on N. Leroy and help the struggling merchants there. What a waste of taxpayer monies.

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