A new garbage “collector” soon will be on duty in the city of Corry.

E.E. Austin and Son Inc. of Erie is constructing a structure called a bar-screen behind the city garage on East Smith Street.

Connected to one of the city’s combined sewer overflow channels that diverts storm-water runoff into Hare Creek, the bar screen is being designed to snag solid objects like rags and plastic bottles from entering the stream after a rainstorm.

“Work is well on the way,” City Administrator Gerry Dahl said. “We had hoped to get this in place before the snow melts in the early spring.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is requiring the Corry Municipal Authority to build the bar-screen as part of the third phase of the city’s ongoing sewer improvement project.

A new building was constructed several years ago at the Avenue A treatment plant and a new pump was added there during the project’s first phase. The project’s second phase involved upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant on Sciota Street.

The authority in August awarded a $61,700 bid to E.E. Austin and Son. The DEP has told the authority the bar screen must be operational by May 31, 2010.

Chances are good that will happen, said Brad Johnson, site foreman for E.E. Austin and Son.

“We started a week ago, but the weather held us up so we were delayed,” Johnson said.

But work by the company’s three-man crew is now under way in earnest. A 10-foot-deep cavity was excavated at the site Monday, and concrete for the 22-by-17-foot pad for the structure was poured Wednesday.

“We plan to pour concrete for the three side walls next week,” Johnson said. “We have about 14 days of work left, so we could be done the following week — if we don’t get held up by the weather.”

The bar screen is being built at the foot of storm-water runoff pipe that is 5 feet in diameter. An 8-by-6-foot screen will be placed in front of the pipe at a 45-degree angle that is designed to catch solid items that might otherwise escape into Hare Creek when heavy rains hit.

A platform will be built over the bar screen on which city workers can stand and use long rakes to fish out debris trapped by the bar screen.

The new structure should be more efficient than the previous screening method, Johnson said. The city formerly placed a screen that more resembled a spring mattress over the storm-water pipe to catch items that wash into the city’s storm-water sewer during a storm.

And when it rains, it pours, Johnson said.

“When it’s raining, that 5-foot pipe is three-quarters full,” he said. “That’s a lot of water.”

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