Wayne Township seeks information from sewer authority

August 26, 2013

WAYNESBURG – Wayne Township has asked Greene County Court to force Brave Water and Sewer Authority to make available to the township the authority’s accounts and books so they can be audited.

The township made the request Friday in a complaint in mandamas, claiming the authority has failed to file an application to renew its state permit, to make payments on a loan and to provide the township with an annual fiscal report as required by law.

The Brave Water and Sewer Authority operates a sewage treatment plant that discharges into Hoover’s Run. It received a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the state to discharge treated sewage on April 15, 2004, according to the complaint.

The authority is required to renew the permit every five years and in September 2008 received an order from the state Department of Environmental Protection that it had failed to comply with certain provision of the permit, the complaint said.

A NPDES compliance report dated June 14, 2012, indicates a continuing violation and failure to submit a NPDES renewal application, the complaint said.

The authority also has failed to pay its monthly payment on a $228,485 loan it received in 1994 from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, Pennvest, the complaint said. The complaint notes the township had guaranteed another Pennvest loan awarded to the authority in 1998 for $115,000.

The township claims the authority has not provided the municipality with an annual financial report as required by the Municipalities Authorities Act or have its books audited annually by a certified public accountant.

The township requested the books, accounts and audit in a letter to the authority from Hook dated July 24. The authority, however, has refused to comply with the request, the complaint said.

Neither the supervisors nor Hook could be reached Monday for comment.

However, Carolyn Hillberry, authority secretary, said she didn’t believe the authority would oppose the township examining its accounts and books. The township had never approached the authority about the matter and she only learned of the request about three weeks ago in a letter from Hook, she said.

Hillberry said she had checked with DEP and the authority has a current NPDES permit. It is aware of the continuing violation, which involves a dousing tank, and is trying to address it, though the authority is small, with only about 80 customers, and needs money for the repairs, she said.

In regard to the Pennvest loan, Hillberry said she would check Tuesday to make sure the authority is current on its payments. She also said the authority only learned recently that it is required to complete an annual audit and provided the township with an annual report, both of which it is willing to do.

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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