As the warm temperatures drag on into September, those who live and work along Pine Hill Run Road will likely have to weather an ongoing stench as a crew works to replace the main sewer line running to the Marlay Taylor Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
The St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission is upgrading the 22-inch concrete pipe at the Lexington Park residential area, replacing it with a 42-inch PVC pipe.
The upgraded pipe “has a design life of over 100 years. The existing concrete pipe was built in the early ‘60s,” George Erichsen, MetCom director, said.
The pipe was not suffering a malfunction, Erichsen said, but may have corroded slightly due to its age. As routine maintenance, MetCom has plans to replace other aging pipes in the county included in its capital improvement budget.
The sewer line runs 1,920 feet down Pine Hill Run, and will cost $1.9 million to replace, Erichsen said. That funding was programmed in 2017, and the contractor, Bethesda-based Midas Construction, received its notice to proceed in April.
The pipe replacement is 60% complete, Erichsen said, but some who live in the neighborhood adjacent to Pine Hill Run Road, and those who work in the Maryland National Guard building nearby, said a sewage smell began wafting through the area this week.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River’s Gate 3 is also located near the road where the work is ongoing.
“It is ripe,” Tom Kettelle who lives on the intersecting Atalanta Street, said about the smell there, but aded the smell only began in “the last few days.”
Erichsen said earlier this week that MetCom had not received complaints about the smell, but that the contractor was bypass-pumping the waste around sections of pipe that are under construction; the odor is a result of that pumping.
The smell could occur “off and on, depending on the weather,” he said.
The construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.