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Cheswick report on future water supply expected next month

| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 12:31 a.m.

A committee assigned to determine the direction Cheswick should go with supplying water to its residents hopes to make an initial report next month.

Councilman Frank Meledandri Jr. said his group, consisting of borough officials and residents, hopes to meet individually with organizations that have submitted proposals to the water committee.

As opposed to seeking contract bids, Meledandri hopes to sit down with the potential suppliers and outline the borough's needs.

Cheswick's water plant was shut down in early 2011 when filtration problems caused water discoloration.

The plant served about 900 customers.

Since then, Cheswick has been buying water from the Harmar Water Authority, but the contract will end in December 2014.

The factors Meledandri's committee will consider are cost, quality, service and response time for incidents such as water main breaks.

Another possibility would be to repair the plant, but that could cost close to $1 million. Officials say that's an exorbitant cost that would be passed along to water customers.

The borough might also sell the plant and the waterlines to a company or a supplier.

The borough would like a 20- to 30-year contract with a supplier.

Interested parties include Harmar, Oakmont and Aqua PA, which is a suburban Philadelphia firm that supplies water in 30 Pennsylvania counties.

“Our main goal is to get residents good water and (price) protection,” Meledandri said. “We want them to treat us like any other customers.”

Officials on Tuesday night also said an ultimate goal would be to have Cheswick represented on an authority board, much as the borough has a seat on the Allegheny Valley Joint Sanitary Authority.

The water committee would have a town hall meeting to present its recommendation.

In other business

• Volunteer Fire Company President Joseph Ferraro presented a report on a meeting to assess how it handled a fire last month in an industrial area of the borough.

The fire started when industrial-grade cleaning chemicals exploded and 11 fire companies responded to the incident. Two firefighters were injured.

Ferraro said that a company must have a certain amount of flammable fluids on site before it has to report to authorities.

Cheswick officials will explore resurrecting the fire inspector's position, eliminated some years ago.

The county fire marshal and hazmat team were among those who attended the fire company's meeting.

“All in all, everybody did a good job,” Ferraro said.

• Council next Tuesday is expected to award a contract to repair faulty catch basins along Pillow Avenue before winter arrives.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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