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Slatington sewer system repairs to cost $6.2 million

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

Slatington will pay $6.2 million to fix its dated sewer system.

Earlier this month, the Slatington Borough Authority at a special meeting awarded a contract to Michael F. Ronca & Sons, Inc. of Bethlehem.

The company - one of nine to bid on the project earlier this month - submitted the low bid of $5,236,070 on both contracts.

It bid $2,773,070 on Contract 1 for sanitary sewer replacement, and $2,463,000 on Contract 2 for sanitary sewer rehabilitation.

However, an addendum was since included with Contract 2 to add about 12,000 linear feet of 8-inch sanitary sewer lining and related rehabilitation work at a cost of $994,314, which raises the total amount of Contract 2 to $3,457,314, and the total cost of the project to $6,230,384.

The Authority has over $7 million through the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds administered through PennVEST to pay for the project.

Of that, it has a $4,721,780 grant through PennVEST, as well as another $2,329,820 as part of a 20-year, one-percent, loan through PennVEST.

Gary Phillips, Slatington Borough Authority chairman, said the project is scheduled to get under way by Oct. 14. It is expected to be completed within a year from that point, Phillips said.

The project is expected to reduce the inflow and infiltration into the system and subsequently reduce the amount of extraneous flow treated at the wastewater treatment plant that currently serves Slatington, Walnutport Borough and Washington Township.

On June 11, the Slatington Borough Authority advertised the original request that the Department of Environmental Protection grant a categorical exclusion from the State Environmental Review Process for the sanitary sewer improvement project.

The cost of the project is expected to have a minimal affect on the current sewer rate for residents. Currently, Slatington residents pay $80 for 8,000 gallons, and $7.54 for each additional 1,000 gallons per quarter.

The average annual residential sewer bill will be about $624, based on the grant/loan combination awarded by PennVEST, Authority officials have said.

Detailed plans and specifications for the project, as well as a detailed cost opinion are available for public review at the Authority's office, located at 125 S. Walnut Street, Slatington.

Last month, Borough Council adopted an ordinance to incur lease rental debt in the maximum principal amount of $2,329,820 to assist with the project.

As part of that ordinance, a guarantee agreement securing a debt obligation to be issued by the borough authority to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority to construct improvements to the sewer system facilities owned by the borough authority and leased to the borough.

The guarantee agreement guarantees maximum, annual debt service payments of the borough authority under the debt obligation to be issued by the Authority, ranging from a low of $3,559, to a high of $128,577.

In Oct. 2008, the borough received federal funding in the amount of $162,426 to do the work through the office of State Rep. Charles W. Dent (PA-15) through the state Environmental Protection Agency's State and Tribal Assistance Grant Program.

Borough officials have said a significant amount of inflow and infiltration is at the root of the sewer plant's problem, which increases its cost and limits the borough's ability to take on more customers.

A four-week study in which six flow meters were positioned throughout the borough at strategic spots that were suspected as being problem areas was completed last fall.

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