By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — The need for a $1 million pumping station has prompted town officials to hold off on extending municipal sewer service to School and Bridge streets.
The project would have brought the town sewer line to approximately 100 homes in that area.
But selectmen decided it wasn’t worth spending the $12,500 needed for a feasibility study. They voted, 3-2, last week to table the study, putting the entire project in jeopardy.
The project would require a multi-million-dollar bond voters are unlikely to back at the polls, Selectman Stephen Campbell said.
Few residents of that area have requested town sewer and there has been little support in recent years for other proposed sewer extensions, he said.
“It just seems like a waste of money to me,” Campbell said of the $12,500. “If people aren’t willing to pay the cost, they shouldn’t be willing to get it.”
The sewer extension has been considered for years, according to Town Manager Keith Hickey.
Sewer rates would have to been increased substantially to fund the project, Selectmen’s Chairman Everett McBride Jr. said.
If the work were to be done, it would be ideal to begin the project soon while the town does other work in that area, town engineer Robert Puff said. The projected cost has not been determined, Hickey said yesterday.
“That’s really the linchpin to the expansion to the northern part of the town,” Puff told selectmen.
But when Puff told selectmen a pumping station would be needed, they became wary of the station’s cost.
Hickey said while the two streets are densely populated, Campbell said there were not residents in that area to warrant the project.
“It would have to be an area big enough to justify a million-dollar pump station,” he said.
Campbell voted to table the study request, as did Selectmen James Keller and Michael Lyons. McBride and Patrick Hargreaves voted to pursue the study.
McBride said the town should at least do the study to see if the project would be worthwhile.
Keller asked if the town should at least survey residents in that area, but the board was not willing to back a survey.