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AWA preps for dryer delivery

The Altoona Water Authority has been preparing for delivery of a mammoth machine from New Jersey at the Westerly Sewer Treatment Plant.

The 63-ton sludge dryer that will be fueled by gas created by a digester now under construction at the plant will be coming next week on a 12-axle trailer from Peapack, N.J. It will be a trip so slow that it will take three days, according to Sewer Operations Director Todd Musser.

The weight of the load required local engineers to check out the bridge at the entrance of Westerly to ensure it could take the pressure, Musser said.

“We’re pretty sure the bridge will be OK,” Musser told the board.

Trucking company personnel have checked the route from Peapack, which is near New York City, to ensure the machine can fit under all the bridges along the way, Musser said.

There will be a police escort, and the convoy will proceed at 12 mph, he said.

There will be a tight squeeze side-to-side under the slanting railroad bridge near the UPS customer center just south of Westerly, according to Musser.

The bridge at the Westerly entrance should be adequate, because the weight of the rig, with its 100-foot trailer, will never fully be on the shhorter span, according to the local engineers, Musser said.

The engineers considered the issue over “a couple weeks,” he said.

Riggers will move the machine, which has a rectangular base and cylindrical top, into an existing building at Westerly “on a horizontal path,” Musser said.

“I don’t know how” — given that riggers don’t plan to use rollers, Musser said.

Rather, there will be two cranes, he said.

He expects that the cranes will be able to “reach horizontally” to complete the placement, he said.

The worldwide supply chain issues that have surfaced in 2021 have not affected the availability of the sludge dryer, because it has been in production for more than a year, said Musser, in answer to a question from authority board member Omar Strohm.

Its transport to Altoona has also been in the works a long time, Musser said.

Other components connected with the digester project have also had long lead times, which has ensured against disruptions, he said.

For the project as a whole, only minor items, including “a couple of small pumps,” have been snagged by the supply chain crisis, Musser said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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