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Unity aims to remove 3,000 Latrobe sewage customers

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Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

The Unity supervisors Thursday approved a plan to remove about 3,000 township customers from Latrobe's sewage system to comply with state requirements to reduce overflow at the city plant, a move that will cost Unity residents an extra $10.80 a month on their sewage bills.

Supervisor Michael O'Barto said that Unity's plan would cost township residents less money than one proposed by the Latrobe Municipal Authority, and would keep sewage charges — paid by 3,000 township customers served by Latrobe's system — in the township.

The supervisors opted to follow the recommendation of the Unity Township Municipal Authority to resolve an long-standing problem of too much water flowing into the Latrobe Municipal Authority's sewage plant during heavy rains.

The plan will be submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection, which must decide whether to follow Unity's option, or the Latrobe Municipal Authority's plans to build holding tanks to capture the extra flow during heavy rains. The plan allows Unity room for growth by providing more capacity in its system.

If the supervisors opted for the Latrobe Municipal Authority's proposal to eliminate the sewage overflow, Unity customers would have had to pay an additional $22 a month for sewage service for both phases of Latrobe's plan.

Kevin Brett, an engineer for Unity's sewage authority, said that Latrobe's proposal for installing just the holding tanks would not have solved the problem, requiring a second, more costly phase.

Unity's plan would remove about 3,000 of the 4,300 township customers — now serviced at Latrobe's sewage plant along the Loyalhanna Creek — to Unity's plant along Fourteen Mile Run off Auction Barn Road. The $18.7 million project would include expanding the Fourteen Mile Run plant's daily capacity to 2.5 million gallons from 1 million gallons, and require the construction of a pump station near the Route 982 cloverleaf off Route 30, Henry said. Customers in the Lawson Heights section now serviced by Latrobe's system, as well as those south of Route 30, will be diverted to Unity's plant.

In other matters, the supervisors presented a 16-page brochure, “Unity Township, Building On Our Beauty,” to Westmoreland County and area economic development officials in hopes of spurring development in the township.

Joseph Sisley, marketing director for the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp., said he believes that Unity is the only municipality in the county that has produced such a brochure touting economic development possibilities.

Unity is in a good position for more growth because there are just five lots available at the Westmoreland Airpark along Route 981 near the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Sisley said.

The county is in the process of expanding the airpark, with plans to add another 10 sites for development in the next year, Sisley said.

The brochure, which has been distributed for free, was produced by West Media Group Inc. of Unity. James Wasylik, president of West Media, said he wrote the brochure himself.

“I wanted to tell the world what a great place it is,” Wasylik said.

Joe Napsha is a writer for Trib Total Media.

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