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Politics

Rep. Chris Pappas Visits Durham Facility, a “Model” for Infrastructure Investment

February 25, 2020

DURHAM, NH – Greek-American U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH) visited the Durham Wastewater Treatment Facility on February 17 noting that the ongoing upgrade project “presents a good model for other towns to follow,” Fosters.com reported.

Congressman Pappas met with engineers, project managers, and town officials, and pointed out “the importance of investing in infrastructure,” Fosters reported.

“We outlined two weeks ago a five-year, $760 billion infrastructure investment,” Pappas said, Fosters reported. “New Hampshire has a lot at stake because the current highway funding bill expires in September. The cost of doing nothing is great, but I recognize that this is a great opportunity to talk about infrastructure. I am hopeful that by May the House will pass an infrastructure package that will support local needs and create jobs. An important part of this conversation will be how we pay for it.”

The current project at the facility began in fall 2019 and Durham town officials and engineers updated Pappas on its progress, Fosters reported, adding that “the expected completion date is September of 2020, according to Derek Costa, project engineer with Wright-Pierce, an environmental engineering firm hired by Durham.”

According to Durham town engineer April Talon, “the project includes a new 20-inch wastewater force main and an 8-inch water main along Oyster River,” Fosters reported.

“These were 60-year-old lines that were running through the wetlands along the river. We had to make sure that wasn’t our single force of failure. If that one line broke, all that waste would’ve been dumped into the river,” said Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig, Fosters reported, adding that “Selig said the new pipes are along the roads, so they would be much more accessible if a problem arises.”

Engineers explained to Pappas about a type of piping being used in the project which is made out of high-density ethylene.

“The new pipes are made of HDPE, which is flexible so it can move a little. The fuse joints are stronger than the pipes themselves, with a lifespan of forever, really,” said Laurie Perkins, project manager and engineer with Wright-Pierce, Fosters reported.

“The project is estimated to cost $2.5 million,” Fosters reported, adding that “two-thirds of the project will be funded by the University of New Hampshire, while the rest of the project is being paid for by Durham water and sewer bills, according to Selig.”

He said that “the current water and sewer bill is about $200 per quarter for a family of four in Durham,” Fosters reported.

“Other towns have failures, then worry. Durham was ahead of the game, because once one failure happens, usually more occur. With the water main next to the river, a failure could have been a disaster,” said Perkins, Fosters reported.

Pappas “praised the town of Durham for being proactive about its water infrastructure,” Fosters reported, adding that he said he “hopes to provide more support for communities facing wastewater projects.”

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