Sewer System Updates

Please send your questions about this project to "[email protected]".  Our team is working with the County Project Manager and has the most up-to-date info.

August 15, 2022 - If you need financial assistance for this project;

Nicole Messeck

Utility Account Specialist III

Sussex County Finance

(302) 854-5087

[email protected]

July 26, 2022 - More info on costs of the new system & volume discount for plumber

Louise reported at the Board Mtg, having a conversation with Hans Medlarz regarding the cost of this project for Lochwood homeowners.  The project received financing from USDA, which was the most favorable terms for Lochwood at 1.75% interest and a 45% grant toward the cost of the project or $3.6M.  This calculates to $26,200 spread over a 40 year period for homeowner payback at approximately $700 per year.  There will be no opportunity for an early payoff due to the processing challenges in their system of tracking who paid early, etc. Unfortunately, most of us will never see this paid off.  The amount of the loan will show as a lien against each property in the community and will transfer upon sale to the new owner.  While having our community on a public sewer system increases home values, the cost will need to be disclosed to buyers.  Don't shoot me, I am just the messenger here.

Larry S. of the Sewer Committee reported they are speaking with one large plumbing company in the area who is offering a 10% or more discount if at least 50 homeowners sign up to use them for connecting to the new system.  As of now, they can fit our community into their schedule and tell us they could complete the entire community within four months.

July 13, 2022 - Randy Duplechain (County Project Manager) following up
In response to the letter each homeowner received requesting (1) Vacuum Valve Pit Location Acceptance/Non-Acceptance, (2) Blanket Utility Easement access is granted.  Randy is now following up with the owners that have questions, concerns or submitted an incomplete form.  

There were 85 owners that did not respond to the letter from the County.  They will receive a second letter with a deadline to respond.  If they do not, the county will not include them in the project.  If you did not receive a letter from Sussex County, dated June 1, 2022 regarding the Lochwood Sewer Extension Project, please contact Randy Duplechain at 302-854-5010 or [email protected] .

June 28, 2022 - Sewer Committee soliciting Plumbing Companies for volume pricing
It was announced at the Board Mtg. that the Sewer Committee will be soliciting local plumbing companies to provide discounted pricing for connecting each home to the new sewer system as well as decommisioning the septic system.  A list of viable candidate companies was agreed upon.  The Sewer Committee will reach out to each of them for their best deal.

June 7, 2022 - All Owners receive letter from the County
A letter has been sent to all property/homeowners regarding the location of the vacuum pit in the front yard.  You have the option to request a change in location.  Please respond to this letter even if you are okay with the location of the stake with green and white ribbon on it.  You will also need to grant an easement to the county to access your property to perform the work.

If you did not receive a letter, please contact Randy Duplechain immediately at [email protected] or 302-854-5010.  Also, check your mailing address with County Records. In addition, the LPOA has granted community right of way access to the County for the purposes of this project.

March 11, 2022 - Meeting with County Project Manager & Survey Company

Members of the Lochwood Sewer Committee met with the County Project Mgr and the Survey Company.  The current stage of the project is positioning the "wastewater collection basins" - for want of a better term. Our system will have a vacuum pump, to be installed at 62 Lake Shore, and each house will be connected - individually or in tandem with a neighbor - to these basins, which are basically a 20-30 gallon tank with a float; when the tank fills, the float rises, causing the vacuum to empty the tank.  The basins have no electrical components.  Each costs ~$6k, so they're trying to minimize the number needed. Together they walked Lake Shore, Pinewood and Blackwood, and they marked on their drawings where the basins should be located. They will be back Wednesday, hopefully to finish this part of the survey. When completed, surveyors will come and stake the position of each basin. The county will send letters to every homeowner and we will have the opportunity to "fine tune" the locations. Some houses are flexible in where the basin can be located.  Also, LPOA will be asked to grant an easement for our property at the end of Lakeshore so a pipe can be bored under the end of the pond, to connect to the pump station in the adjoining neighborhood (the new one going up on Dorman Rd.). Notes were made concerning the lots being developed, I believe the County will contact the builders about where to run their waste lines.  We talked to a few neighbors, who were interested in what we were doing; most were glad to see "real evidence" that sewers are coming. 

February 23, 2022  A Question & Answer exchange with our County Project Manager

Q: Is there a nearby development that has recently been completed using the vacuum pump technology? We would like to see what the pump house looks like.

A: The closest municipality I’m aware of that uses this technology is Somerset County Maryland. I designed a vacuum system for them back in the mid 1990’s. This will be the first vacuum system installed in Sussex County. We are still in the process of determining whether to go with a prefabricated building or an engineered building. As we get closer to making that decision we will let you know, and also share our design ideas.

Q: Will the county provide a list of approved contractors that we can contact for the hookups?

A: The County does not have a list of approved plumbers. We only require that the plumber used is licensed. The County will inspect the installation of the sewer line from the house to the vacuum pit at the time the connection is made.

Q: When should we start the process of contacting them?

A: It is probably never too early to try to find a plumber since they are sometimes hard to find. But my suggestion would be to wait until at least the construction documents are ready for agency submission, anticipated to be in early June of this year. That way you will have some project information to share with the plumber(s) at the time.

Q: How long will we have to hookup?

A: Once construction is complete and the entire system is operational the County will send out letters to the residents letting them know it is time to hook up to the system. They will have 6 months from the date of that letter to connect without incurring any additional fees.

January 18, 2022
The preliminary project schedule for the Lochwood Sewer Extension Project has been provided by the County to our team and is posted below on this page.  The system will be a vacuum system.  The most recent development is the finalization of the agreement to purchase property for the vacuum building.  

December 21, 2021

Surveying of the community has been completed and the selection of the location of the pumping station is underway.

November 17, 2021
We have yet to see the surveyors in the community.  Hans has acknowledged they are getting a later then expected start.  When they do start we will update the timeline.

October 28, 2021
The Sewer Project Committee will hold its first meeting at 7pm via Zoom.

October 19, 2021
Financial Assistance is available for qualified residents for;
> Sanitary Sewer/Water bills (up to $200 per year) 
> System Connection Charges and assistance for failing septic systems (up to $2,500 per year)

The website for the program is;

For more info, call Sussex County Permitting Office at 302-855-7719

October 16, 2021
Hans Medlarz visited our Annual Meeting and discussed both the drainage and sewer projects with the community members.  

DRAINAGE: The drainage project did not receive enough approval votes in order to proceed.  Hans recommended that we focus our attention on hot spots in the community that seem to always have problems with standing water and work to develop solutions with those homeowners.  

SEWER: The project has been assigned to Davis, Bowden & Friedel, Inc. for the design phase.  The Design Schedule begins the first week of November with a survey being performed street by street.  If you notice the surveyors in your area, please let them know where your septic system is located.  If you miss them during the survey, there will be another opportunity to provide this info.

Week 1: Survey Lakewood 
Week 2: Survey Pine-wood & Blackwood
Week 3: Survey Lak-e Shore
Week 4: Survey Maplewood & Foxwood 
Week 5: Survey Cedarwood, Berrywood & Oakwood 
Week 6: Survey Building Site Pad (Pumping Station) and force main path
Week 7: Complete office work and produce existing condition plan
Preliminary Layout - completed within 3 weeks of survey completion
Preliminary Construction Documents - complete within 4 weeks of receiving preliminary layout      review comments
Final Construction Documents  - within 2 weeks of receiving preliminary construction document comments
Permitting - estimated time frame is 90 days

Lochwood will not qualify for a gravity system due to the high ground water table, therefore the two options available are;
1) grinder pump at each home (requires electricity, will cost about $20/yr for family of 4, or
2) vacuum system which requires no electricity and operates using hydraulics. 

When the system is fully operational, each owner will receive a letter to connect and must do so within 4 months, at which time billing will begin.  If an owner chooses not to connect, they will still be billed and forced to connect when the home is sold.  There will be a cost for each homeowner to hire a plumber to connect the system to their home and to decommission their septic system.  Decommissioning a septic system means pumping it out, then filling it with sand or crushing the tank and/or removing the tank.   The LPOA will work to negotiate the lowest possible plumber fees for homeowners when we get to that part of the project.

The entire project will take 36 months. 
Year 1 - Survey, design, permitting, pumping station construction. 
Year 2 - Construction of the system. 
Year 3 - Connecting each home to the system.

Financial assistance for connecting will be available from the county.  When this info has been received, it will be posted on this page. 

October 12, 2021

Hans Medlarz, Sussex County will be a guest speaker at our Annual Meeting 10/16/21 10am to discuss the sewer and proposed drainage projects with us.  

June 18, 2021

The project has now officially been funded by USDA and approved by the County Council on 6/15/21.  See 'Lochwood Packet Item' below.  Once the County has access to the funds they will select an engineering consultant. Design will start in earnest in the fall. 

Questions about the project can be directed to;

Office of County Engineer
Hans Medlarz, P.E.

Connection to the new system will be mandatory.  Please review the presentation available on this page for specific information including estimated costs (as of 2019).  We will get much more detailed info this fall when the design is completed and are able to meet with the County.

** Please note the following correction in the Lochwood Packet to page 1 "Memorandum" paragraph 2: "In April of 2022 the Engineering Department" should read "In April of 2021 the Engineering Department...".

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