Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Area Authority May Provide Sewer Service to Penn

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Area Authority May Provide Sewer Service to Penn

Article excerpt

The Saxonburg Area Authority, which recently agreed to supply sewer service in Middlesex, is now poised to provide Penn with public sewers.

The cooperative arrangements have been prompted by orders from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Middlesex and Penn are required by the state to install public sewers, and the Saxonburg Area Authority is under orders to fix an overload problem.

Adding customers is expected to help the authority spread the costs of its upgrade. The total cost of the project, including providing service to Middlesex and Penn, is expected to be $36 million to $40 million. The funding will likely come in large part from a low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, or Pennvest.

The Penn portion of the plan would cost about $6 million and provide service to 1,082 new customers. The area that would be served covers the northwest quadrant of the township, extending as far north as the Butler Township line, south to Penn Drive and Dodds Road, west to encompass all of the community of Renfrew and east to Winters and Old Plank roads.

A walk-through inspection in December 1992, updated in 2002, found that a majority of the homes in the study area had failing septic tanks, said Jeff Rober, an engineer with Engineering Dynamics of Pittsburgh. "Failing" can describe a range of septic tank conditions. The tank may no longer be able to contain sewage and is allowing it to ooze out into the yard or it may be too near a family's well.

The fee for Penn customers to tap into the sewers could be roughly $4,500, said Paul Cornetti, authority engineer. Saxonburg Manager Michael Thomas noted that Pennsylvania law states that a tap- in fee cannot be determined until actual, not estimated, costs have been determined. The service fee is expected to be $34 to $36 a month.

Currently, the authority serves about 1,125 customers in Saxonburg, Jefferson and Clinton. Adding the Middlesex and Penn customers would bring that number to roughly 3,360. The authority also is considering adding a part of Richland to its customer base.

The DEP has required the authority to submit a sewage treatment plan, known as an Act 537 plan, within two months that will tell the DEP how it is going to remedy the hydraulic overload problem, Cornetti said. …

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