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Unity Township awarded $2M grant for storm sewer repairs

| Friday, April 21, 2017, 7:42 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority delivered welcome news this week to Unity officials by approving the township for $2 million to improve and expand storm sewers — and making the funding part of a grant rather than through a loan.

PennVest Deputy Director Brion Johnson said the grant will provide 6,800 feet of new sewer pipe and other storm system improvements in several areas of the township. No local match is required for the money, he said, noting the decision whether to provide a low-interest loan or a grant is based largely on “the community's capacity to handle the debt.”

Johnson said some deteriorated sections of storm pipe will be repaired with a steam-cured lining formed with extruded plastic.

“It's terrific,” Township Supervisors Chairman John Mylant said. “It's a gift from heaven when you don't have to pay it back. We've been talking about these projects for the last three years.”

After previous attempts to secure funding failed, supervisors in February applied for the money from PennVest to install storm pipe and inlets where they are lacking — including in Edgewater Terrace and along Phillips Road and Golf Drive — and to repair a partially collapsed storm sewer along Mission Road that has caused sinkholes. The extruded lining is proposed for pipe in East High Acres and Lawson Heights.

In addition to sinkholes, the projects will address periodic flooding and erosion that deposits sediment in streams, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca said in a release. The upgrades are expected to create 10 construction jobs and will benefit an area that services 8,470 people, he said.

The work is expected to begin in August and be completed by the end of the year.

Unity's funding is part of $18.2 million in loans and $20.8 million in grants PennVest has awarded for a dozen projects in nine counties.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622.

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