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$6M New Ken authority project targets leaks

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Friday, March 8, 2013, 1:31 a.m.

Areas with numerous leaks would be targeted in a roughly $6 million waterline replacement project being considered by New Kensington's water authority.

Nearly 10 miles of waterlines have been identified for replacement in areas of New Kensington, Lower Burrell and Arnold.

That's according to information consulting engineer Ed Schmitt, of Gibson-Thomas Engineering, shared with the authority's board Thursday.

Authority members will be reviewing the list to decide which areas to include in a project and which could be done with its own workers. Schmitt said authority crews could handle some of the smaller ones for less cost than a contractor.

Project areas range from as little as 250 linear feet on York Drive up to 4,650 linear feet on Craigdell Road.

Depending upon when funding is obtained, work could begin this fall and continue into next spring, Schmitt said.

It would take about six to nine months to complete.

Priority is being given to the areas with the highest frequency of leaks.

Schmitt said the authority has had to contend with 45 water main breaks since Jan. 1.

Thirty of those have happened on streets being recommended for replacement.

In the long run, replacing the lines most prone to leaks “will save you money,” Schmitt said.

The authority would seek a 20-year loan from the state. Federal grants could be available because of a focus on improving the nation's infrastructure.

In addition to the waterlines, about $500,000 would be spent for filter control upgrades at the water plant.

Refinancing considered

The authority could save about $183,000 by refinancing part of its debt, which is money that could go toward the work, according to a presentation by Joseph Muscatello, managing director with Boenning & Scattergood, a financial services firm.

The authority board voted to get rates and proposals from banks to refinance about $4 million owed to Citizens Bank. That's the amount remaining on a $5.7 million, 15-year loan the authority took out in 2008 to upgrade the meter system, authority General Manager Jim Matta said.

Muscatello said the loan's terms allow it to be refinanced without penalties.

Survey responses sought

The authority will make another attempt to get residents of an Allegheny Township neighborhood to respond to a survey asking if they want the have public water installed.

In response to requests, the authority is considering bringing water service to an area that includes White Cloud, Melwood and Smail roads.

In a survey, 16 said yes, 15 said no, and another 11 did not respond, Matta said.

Matta said the authority wants a response from all of the affected property owners.

The project is estimated at $1.2 million.

If the project proceeds, all those in the area would be required to tap-in. They would pay a $2,350 tap-in fee and a debt service fee that would be added to the quarterly water bill, Matta said. The amount of the debt service charge is not yet known.

In other business

• Authority members approved donating about a dozen old computers to charity.

The computers, more than 6 years old, are considered obsolete. The authority recently had new computers installed.

The hard drives on the computers will be wiped before being donated, Matta said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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