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New sewage treatment plant in Freeport may more than triple customers' bills

| Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, 10:21 p.m.

Freeport Borough is preparing to forge ahead on its new sewage treatment plant, and residents' monthly bill could more than triple.

The $11.6 million facility will replace the aging plant that has become outmoded, including pipes that are too narrow.

Under what council said Tuesday night was a “worst-case scenario,” a typical monthly sewage bill could be about $112.

Residents currently pay about $33 a month. The new project could cost each of the 850 customers about another $79 monthly for the $112 total.

Officials said if grants are obtained from PennVEST and other sources, that user rate would be lowered.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing the design. By Sept. 15, the design is expected to be returned to Freeport for council and Armstrong County planning officials to review.

The borough plans to advertise a 30-day public comment period for October.

A public hearing will be scheduled for the second or third week of October at a site to be determined. The Combined Sewage Overflow plan will also be discussed.

The public comments will be addressed during November. On Dec. 1, plans and comments will be submitted to the state for final approval.

Phase I will include an agreement to accept diverted run-off from the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and the borough will take out a loan for that project portion.

Solicitor Gerald DeAngelis said $5,000 is needed just for the licensure agreement with the railroad.

As for Phase II — the actual plant construction — Freeport would largely seek state and federal grants.

Freeport officials recently voted to build a new treatment plant rather than connect iwth the Upper Allegheny Joint Sanitary Authority system in Harrison.

Officials said earlier that doing so would have only been about $4 per a month per customer cheaper than building a new treatment plant.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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