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Freeport residents asked to weigh in on plan for $11.6 million sewage plant

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, 12:31 a.m.

Freeport Council has decided what it thinks should be done about the borough's sewage treatment plant. Now, it's time to hear from residents.

A 30-day public comment period starts today on the borough's plans to build a new plant.

Residents have until Nov. 3 to submit questions and comments in writing to the borough office.

A public meeting on the project is still planned, but has not yet been scheduled.

A new treatment plant is expected to cost about $11.6 million.

In a worst-case scenario, officials have said residents would have to pay $79 per month to pay for it, on top of their existing $33 monthly fee.

Building a new plant was chosen over tying into the Upper Allegheny Valley Joint Sanitary Authority's system.

A study found little difference in cost to residents, at the expense of the borough no longer having its own treatment plant.

Council President Rich Hastings Jr. said officials are looking for comments on the borough's plans.

“I'm looking to see who's in support of this and who's not in support of it,” Hastings said. “I've had mixed reviews from citizens. Some say they want to keep a plant in town; others say we can't afford it and to find cheaper options.

“I'm curious how many citizens are on each side,” he said.

Hastings cautioned that the sewage facilities plan is a lengthy, “tough” read to get through. But “it explains what's going on,” he said. “It will explain to them what we're doing if they haven't been paying attention.”

The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The borough will be seeking grants and low-interest loans. How much it will ultimately cost residents will depend on the actual cost and how successful the borough is at obtaining grants.

“We're going to try our hardest to get as many grants as we can for this,” Hastings said. “We all understand a $79 increase is not beneficial to anyone in town.”

Officials will have to answer residents' comments, which will be included in the plan sent to the state Department of Environmental Protection for review, said Brian Churilla, vice president of KLH Engineers, the engineering firm on the project.

The plant is still in the planning phase, Churilla said. The borough will submit its plans to the DEP by the beginning of December.

If the DEP approves, it would then move into design.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or viaTwitter @BCRittmeyer.

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