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Kiski sewage authority could pay $7M for upkeep; final cost unclear

| Friday, May 19, 2017, 11:36 p.m.

The Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority plans to upgrade its pump stations, some of which are more than 40 years old, with a price tag that could hit $7 million.

The authority board has approved about $472,000 of work to be done by KLH Engineering. The work consists of designs, construction plans and obtaining permits.

Until that preliminary work is done, it is unknown what the final cost would be or how the authority would finance the project, officials said.

The pump stations are located in East Vandergrift; Elder Run in Gilpin, near the former ATI Bagdad plant; Guffy Run, near the Parks Bend Industrial Park in Parks Township; Leechburg; Penn Run, in West Leechburg; Wean United; and Vandergrift.

“The majority of these pumps are the originals,” Craig Bauer of KLH said.

He said with the exception of East Vandergrift, all the others need extensive work.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” authority Chairman A.J. Bione of Kiski Township said.

The authority board will look at financing options at a later date.

“We have to determine the priorities after the study is done,” board member Bob Polczynski of Allegheny Township said.

The authority determined another problem near the Penn Run station.

Flooding has occurred at least twice after heavy rainstorms, according to officials. Penn Run enters a small culvert underneath the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

The culvert isn't wide enough to accommodate water after heavy storms, and the water backs up to the pump station.

West Leechburg Borough's public works department can't fix the culvert because it's on railroad property.

The authority had to buy flood insurance to avoid paying for damages to the pump station that took place several years ago.

The Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority's treatment system came on line in 1975. It currently serves 14,000 customers in 13 municipalities.

Sewage data expected in July

Data on the 74 flow meters installed throughout the authority's service area should be available sometime in July.

The meters were installed by Drnach Enviromental of Elizabeth and will be used to see how much stormwater flow is infiltrating the sewage system.

Authorities such as the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority are under a federal directive to keep stormwater out of the sewage system and pollutants out of creeks and rivers.

Bauer said “good data” is coming through the monitoring system, but the authority will wait until the six-month testing period is completed.

Bauer said it will be easier to download all the data from the 74 meters instead of doing it on a piecemeal basis.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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