The broken sewer main that dumped between three million and five million gallons of raw sewage into the Quassaick Creek that feeds the Hudson River late last week, could wind up costing the City of Newburgh as much as $7 million once all of the repairs and old pipes have been replaced.
The temporary fix, which was completed Friday night with a temporary pipe installed to continue the service, will cost an estimated $1 million.
City Manager Richard Herbek said Tuesday the sewer main failure points up the need to replace ancient sewer and water lines in many of the older Hudson Valley cities.
“A lot of cities, particularly the older industrial cities, are going to need to replace these water and sewer mains otherwise we are going to continue to have failures and I know that the State of New York is very concerned about this,” Herbek said.
Newburgh officials have been meeting with representatives of the state’s Environmental Facilities Corporation, which provides infrastructure upgrade loans at very low interest rates for municipalities.
The Newburgh City Council approved a transfer of $1.2 million from its sewer fund balance Tuesday for emergency sewer repairs following a break in the west trunk line that spilled over three million gallons of sewage into Quassaick Creek last week.
Herbek declared a state of emergency Friday to enlist the aid of state agencies, which have been working to assist the city in repairing the line, and have implemented a bypass pumping system until permanent repairs are made. He said a previous repair to the line had cost $800,000, and there was more work yet to be done.
"We can see points upstream where more problems are in the works," Herbek said. The sewage trunk line, which carries waste from the city to a sewage treatment plant, was deteriorated by rainstorm erosion.