Southwestern seeking money to increase service

June 13, 2013

JEFFERSON – Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority asked its engineer Thursday to prepare an application for grant and loan money to construct a 24-inch water line through Waynesburg to increase the volume of water the authority can provide to western Greene County and to help serve Morris Township.

Authority manager Jack Golding told the board he and authority engineer Randy Krause recently met with representatives of coal and natural gas companies that operate in western Greene County and need additional water for their operations.

The authority also had been approached by the Morris Township supervisors about extending a water line to the Nineveh area, he said. Consol Energy’s Bailey Mine will be mining in Morris Township, and the company is building a new portal there on Patterson Creek Road.

The authority proposed applying for money from the state’s PennWorks program which would be for a $5 million grant and a $5 million low-interest loan, the maximum awarded through the program, Golding said. Representatives of the coal and natural gas companies expressed interest in the project and said they would consider contributing money toward it, he said.

The project is estimated to cost $18 million and it is hoped the companies would contribute enough to cover the costs not covered by the grant, Golding said. Morris, Franklin and Washington townships and the county also agreed to write letters of support for the project.

The project would include constructing a new 24-inch line from an area near the Greene County airport to West Waynesburg, a 16-inch line on Route 19 from West Waynesburg to Nineveh and a 12-inch line along Tripp Hill Road.

The project will tie in with the expansion of the authority’s water treatment plant, which will allow the authority to produce the amount of water needed to serve the area, Golding said. “It’s win-win all around if we can get a grant,” he said.

The project also will help open up the western part of the county for residential development, said board President Tim Faddis.

The authority considered constructing the 24-inch line through Waynesburg several years ago. It also had applied for a grant at one time to extend a line on Route 18 to Nineveh. The grant application, however, was not successful.

In other business, Krause reported the authority had closed last month on the $8.6 million Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority loan for the expansion of the treatment plant. Preliminary work has begun at the plant, he said.

The authority earlier awarded $13.1 million in contracts for the project which will increase the capacity of the treatment plant from 7 million to 9.2 million gallons a day.

The authority voted Thursday to approve constructing an elevator at the plant, which was not included in the original expansion plans and not required by building codes. The elevator will add $449,119 to the costs.

Solicitor David Pollock reported articles of incorporation and bylaws for a new park authority being formed to develop the water authority’s Wisecarver Reservoir property into a recreational park are now being reviewed by the county and Franklin Township, which are joining the water authority in the park authority’s creation.

The park will be developed on the 380 acres of land that surround the reservoir. The park authority will manage the park and raise money for the park’s development.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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