How do you quadruple the capacity of a sewage treatment plant that’s nestled in the midst of high-priced suburban Philadelphia homes? Very quietly.
Montgomery Township, in Montgomery County, outside of Philadelphia, has experienced meteoric development over the past 10 years and the need to expand its sewage treatment facility has become vital. In fact, when the expansion project is completed in 2004, the wastewater treatment capacity will increase from 750,000 gal. a day to 2.4 million gal. a day. There are five major contracts that have been awarded for this job: The Montgomery Township Sewer Authority is doing all the site work, and doing all the excavating. The entire project will cost $13 million.
To start with, how to excavate the sites where the two tanks and control building would sit posed a challenge: How would crews break through the hard Montgomery Township rock, while avoiding damage to the surrounding community?
“We were going to blast it,” said Charles “Chuck” Fealy, superintendent of construction, maintenance and operations for Montgomery Township Municipal Sewer Authority. “But we talked to our engineers and they said that would destroy our existing facilities and there also would be a chance of damage to some of the neighboring homes; which are $700,000 to $800,000. With the amount of rock we have to shoot, we would really have some problems.”
So Fealy concluded that a using hammer would be best. He contacted Frank Beck, sales representative of nearby Eagle Power & Equipment. “When he [Chuck] was a contractor, I used to sell him equipment,” said Beck. “When he took over here, he just automatically called me when he needed something.”
“Frank and I have known each other for almost 25 years … We have grown together in this business,” Fealy added.
Soon the township was in possession of an Allied 775 hammer and attached it to a Case 9030 track hoe, which also is on rent from Eagle Power & Equipment. The 775 hammer is proving invaluable.
“I think the first year we ripped out and crushed approximately 50,000 tons of stone,” said Fealy. “Last year was about 60,000 to 75,000 tons, and this year we’ll probably do about 5,000 tons so that we’ll have room to a put a storage lot here.
“We’ve got more hammering to do; anytime you dig around here, you have to hammer. But has this saved us tons and tons of money? The first 6 ft. from the top was rocky shale that you can take out with a track hoe and then after that, we were lucky. The rock broke, the first lift was about a 1-ft. layer of solid rock, which was just like cutting a piece of cake, and every time we go down a little, the vein would increase in thickness. The last lift was 4 ft. thick,” he said.
Other equipment that the Authority has been using on this project include:
• A Case 9030 track hoe with the Allied 775 hammer on rental,
• A Case 9050 track hoe on rental,
• A Case 1845C skid steer with a small Allied 711B hammer,
• A Case 1455B track loader,
• A Case 721 articulated wheel loader on rental,
• A Case 550 dozer, which the Authority owns, and
• A Case 1150 dozer on rental.
The two treatment tanks, which will be 158 ft. in diameter (the current ones are 80 ft. in diameter) will be made of steel, but the foundations will be made with concrete.
The project’s first stage involved making cuts from the wall. “We had to cut a key,” began Fealy, “because this is all solid bedrock, but the hammer broke the rock into a nice flat floor. You couldn’t ask for anything better than that. We had to come out anywhere from 5 ft. to 20 ft. from the wall, and then hammer that down about another foot.”
So far, Fealy and his crew has broken approximately 30,000 cu. yds. (22,936 cu m) of rock, most of which has been crushed on site and re-used behind what will be a berm wall surrounding the four new tanks.
To do all this Fealy and his crew are working 10-hour days and constantly keeping the crusher, CEC Roadrunner running to keep the rock out of the way.
The project was drawing some attention and other vendors showed up to watch how the crews were handling the rock.
“The hammer is incredible. It works so well,” said Fealy. Also, adding that he has been pleased with Eagle Power’s service. “The only thing that ever happened was a pin broke inside and that was just a little flaw. I got ahold of Eagle and 25 minutes later we were back up and running. We get great support from Eagle Power,” he said.