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Morristown’s new sewer system sees more problems in second winter

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MORRISTOWN — The town of Morristown has poured an estimated $2,000 to $3,000 so far this year into fixing frozen and broken sewer grinders on its two-year-old River Road East system.

Village Superintendent of Public Works Kevin J. Crosby, who works with the town to maintain the sewer system, said the money has been used to pay the required overtime for town and village employees who are working on repairs and for replacement parts.

Mr. Crosby said three or four grinder units have frozen this year, each one taking at least a day to thaw.

Some sewer lines also have burst after freezing, Mr. Crosby said, forcing the town to dig them up and replace parts.

“I’m not sure what the town’s recourse is going to be,” Mr. Crosby said. “Obviously we want them to be fixed so that the problems are not happening.”

But unlike last year, when more than 20 grinders had reported problems, the sewer system is no longer under warranty with North Country Contractors, Henderson, leaving the town on its own to fix problems.

And while some pumps and grinders are freezing up because they were not winterized correctly before homeowners left the town for the winters, Mr. Crosby said some of the systems that are being used year-round also are having problems.

The pumps themselves, which cost about $3,000, are still under warranty, Mr. Crosby said, but the installation would be up to the town.

Town Supervisor Frank L. Putman said the town is “acknowledging that there is a problem” and is having ongoing conversations with the contractor.

Mr. Putman said that he is in the process of getting more information about the situation and that the problem may be brought up at an upcoming Town Council meeting.

For his part, Mr. Crosby said, the town is trying to minimize the amount of overtime it’s paying.

Mr. Crosby said that as much as possible the work is being done during normal work hours, especially on properties where no one is using their sewer system.

“If it’s a home that’s being used all winter, obviously we have to stay and fix it and stay until it’s fixed,” he said.

The River Road East sewer system was installed in 2012 at a cost of $3.8 million. Approximately 100 grinders and pumps were installed, one of each on each property.

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