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Villas of Newtown basin fix to cost township at least $112K


Newtown Township Supervisors last month approved final bids for improvements to the stormwater runoff basin in the Villas of Newtown community just off Newtown Bypass on Silver Lake Road.

Lack of drainage in the basin has been an ongoing issue for residents of the community dating back to 2007.

Public improvements (the township’s responsibility) regarding drainage were not completed nearly 10 years after the community was first constructed, and in April 2022, bids to complete the work came in at $277,000, which the township escrow fund did not have the resources to cover. The bids were subsequently rejected.

Villas Homeowners Association President Barry Scott summed up the concerns of many in his community. “Our basin right now is a lake and it’s beautiful. It’s like a wildlife preserve, but we understand what needs to be done to fix the problem. Our concern right now is that if costs escalate like they have been, we don’t want anybody coming back looking for more money to finish these contracts.”

Resident and HOA board member Joan Bioki said during the April meeting of the board of supervisors, “We would really love to see this matter come to an end and these contracts awarded this evening.”

Township Planner Melissa Fountain, who has worked closely with the residents, explained, “In the 15 years since construction started, there were a lot of inundations in the bottom of the basin, a lot of low areas, so we needed to get the far end of the basin graded to drain to the outlet structure. That grading cost a lot of money, more than what the township had to complete the improvements.”

She went on to explain that after consulting with the Villas of Newtown HOA and the Bucks County Conservation District, it was decided that an underdrain needs to be installed at the bottom of the basin with a perforated pipe surrounded in stone to fix the problem.

This will ensure any runoff coming into the basin that infiltrates into the ground will get grabbed by the perforated pipe and then go out through the outlet structure.

The project will also include directional drilling of a pipe through a berm in the drainage area which will be more cost-effective than digging out the entire berm area of the detention basin.

The basin modifications bid Land-Tech Enterprises Inc., of Warrington, in the amount of $74,390. Some alternate add-ons to the project to ensure successful stormwater management include base filter replacement, removal and disposal of over 1,200 linear feet of erosion sedimentation, and disposal of a filter fabric from an existing inlet. These and other minor adjustments amount to $10,095.

For the directional drilling bid, the township reached out to three contractors but only heard back from one. West Chester-based Brandywine Directional Drilling LLC will complete the work for a cost of $18,300. A separate Land-Tech bid for the concrete work comes in at $19,500. Some minor costs regarding landscaping once the project is complete will be covered by the township with adequate funds.

“This is going to better control the rate of stormwater coming from the development as all detention basins should do. They control the rate of the runoff coming to them. With the basin outlet structure modifications that we are proposing, it’s going to hold back more water and allow the water to leave the site at the same rate as the pre-development rate,” said Fountain.

“By putting these perforated pipes in the bottom of the basin, it’s going to help water quality and volume of the stormwater because it’s getting water back into the ground.” The board agreed and voted unanimously to approve the final bids for the project. Work will begin shortly with the township and Villas HOA coordinating efforts.

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