Purchase of $396,000 truck to suck out sewage OK’d

Williamsport Municipal Sanitary Authority on Wednesday approved spending nearly $396,000 to buy a truck that draws out sewage from mains beneath the ground.

The combo jet Vactor, as it’s called, costs $395,914.

The authority accepted a bid by U.S. Municipal, a company that supplies the vehicles.

“I hope it’s used daily,” said Thomas “Tuck” Frazier, sanitary authority chairman.

Frazier said he was concerned whether the truck would be used daily because of the high cost of replacing an existing truck in the service line.

“It is, and we need to replace it because the older truck is beyond its useful life,” Douglas Keith, authority executive director, said after the meeting.

The older model will be kept as a backup, he said.

The vaccum truck has so much “sucking” power that it can be used for excavation purposes, according to Charles Hauser, authority director of engineering.

Money is available in the authority’s capital projects budget for the truck, Keith said.

“It becomes a necessary acquisition now that the authority has taken charge of collection systems for Loyalsock and Woodward townships,” Keith said.

Just before the vote, George Bierman, a member of the authority board, asked whether there were any federal grants or any discounts on such a vehicle.

Keith was asked about a request by City Councilman Don Noviello, who wondered if the authority could share equipment to reduce the overall cost the city faces to certify the flood levee with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Engineers hired by the city gave the city public works committee a preliminary estimate of the work costing at least $395,000.

“We are always available to any of our communities we serve,” Keith said Wednesday.

At the time of the question, Hauser was setting up a meeting with Councilman N. Clifford “Skip” Smith regarding the potential sharing of equipment to help alleviate some of the expected cost toward the levee certification.

Smith said he would be pleased to arrange the meeting.

If the levee is not certified by FEMA, hundreds of residences and businesses face the potential of having to pay annual flood insurance costs, which Smith said would “drive out half of the city.”