By Larry Barszewski
Cost estimates on installing a townwide sewer system have increased dramatically as Manalapan’s engineering consultant has done additional research on the needed work.
Mock Roos & Associates now estimates it will cost $17.48 million to install a low pressure sewer system, a 70% increase from the $10.3 million preliminary estimate it gave town commissioners last year.
And that doesn’t include the cost to individual homeowners to connect to the town’s sewer lines, which is estimated at between $40,000 and $60,000 per property.
At their Feb. 28 meeting, commissioners asked Town Manager Linda Stumpf to get more information about potential funding sources that may be available to the town before it holds any discussions with residents about a sewer system and what they think about the town building one.
Officials have studied installing a sewer system a number of times in the past, concerned that the town eventually may be forced to put one in because of environmental concerns posed by the septic tanks currently in use. The cost has always turned out to be a stumbling block.
Finding out about potential grants that may be available will help commissioners determine — if they decide to build a sewer system — whether to pay for it all at once or do it in pieces.
The Mock Roos plan has three phases that were presented to commissioners:
• $7.4 million to build the system on Point Manalapan, taking advantage of existing, unused sewer lines on a portion of the Point that were included in the original construction there
• $600,000 for renovating the town’s existing sewer lines that serve the area from Town Hall to the north and that go into South Palm Beach
• $9.48 million for rebuilding the sewer system for the properties along State Road A1A south of Town Hall.
Commissioners decided they’ll move ahead with the repair work for the existing system, which is needed whether or not a new system is installed. The cost covers repairing the current lift station and replacing the sewer force main, which is corroding from the outside.
If commissioners decide to install a sewer system, their current thinking is it would be optional for residents to connect to the system — unless the state later mandates such connections. Each property would need a macerating pump to grind the solid waste and a 1.5-inch diameter pipe to take the waste from the pump to a roadway connection to the sewer lines.
“The town does its part, then people can hook up as they want,” Vice Mayor Stewart Satter said.
The needed residential pumps were going for $5,000 to $10,000 a year ago and now run from $10,000 to $17,000, Mock Roos consultant Thomas Biggs told commissioners.
Go-slower request rebuffed
Town commissioners are envious of Ocean Ridge’s 25-mph State Road A1A speed limit south of Manalapan and have been hoping to get the 35-mph limit within town reduced.
However, they haven’t been able to get officials from the Florida Department of Transportation on the same page.
In a Feb. 3 email to Manalapan Police Chief Carmen Mattox from Rana Keel, a program manager in FDOT’s district office, Keel said the department would not be making a change.
FDOT conducted a speed study on the town’s portion of A1A Jan. 17 after receiving the town’s request and determined a speed limit reduction wasn’t warranted. That study found that 85% of drivers on the stretch from East Ocean Avenue south to the Boynton Inlet were traveling at speeds ranging from 30 mph to 38 mph northbound and from 35 mph to 38 mph southbound, Keel said.
As for Ocean Ridge’s lower limit south of the inlet, Keel said: “Please note that the speed limit is posted as 25 MPH in this small section of SR A1A so drivers can safely reduce their speed approaching a curved road where the reduced speed is needed.”
Mattox has also been in touch with FDOT about flooding concerns near the intersection of A1A and East Ocean Avenue, which experienced heavy flooding in November with the one-two punch from the impact of king tides and Hurricane Nicole.
“We did have some heavy rain at the end of January. This rain did not cause any flooding,” Mattox wrote in his February report to commissioners.
“FDOT is still inspecting their system and making repairs to reduce flooding. Lantana Public Works does not believe their system affects the flooding and chose not to inspect or clean out their drainage lines in the beach parking lot.”
A large buoy owned by the federal government that washed ashore in Manalapan near 1600 S. Ocean Blvd. had been a headache to get rid of for the town before a crew from the Beach Rakers business finally took it off the beach Feb. 24.
“A lot of work went into getting rid of that buoy,” Stumpf said.
The 7-foot-tall yellow navigation buoy came from Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys and landed on the beach here in the middle of January.
“That’s a lot of drifting,” Mattox said. He didn’t have much success coordinating with the national park until he sought help from U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel’s office, which got the sides together.
“They came and got it and they put it on a boat and shipped it back to the Tortugas,” Mattox said.
Lands End Road cul-de-sac
Details for replacing the circle in the Lands End Road cul-de-sac were presented to commissioners at their Feb. 28 meeting. The current 30-foot-diameter circle would be replaced by a 16-foot-diameter one, making the cul-de-sac easier for trucks to navigate and making it less likely the circle will be damaged.
Cul-de-sac residents had complained to commissioners in January that the cul-de-sac’s circle and its landscaping were getting beat up by traffic overrunning the circle.
The proposal would replace the landscaping in the circle and create a 2-foot-wide strip of pavers around the landscaping, along with a mountable curb that won’t be damaged if trucks ride over it.
Commissioners expect to approve a contract for the work in March.