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Water treatment facility expands as population grows in Cranberry

| Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Cranberry's water treatment plant has outgrown itself in the 14 years since it opened — a reflection of explosive growth in southern Butler County.

Township officials are developing plans to expand the Brush Creek Water Treatment Facility.

“The new plant design we are working on would take us to 2030,” said Duane McKee, the township's assistant manager.

By that time, Cranberry is expected to have a population of 50,000. Today, the fast-growing township has a population of about 30,000 and has drawn major employers such as Westinghouse.

McKee said plant expansion is estimated to cost $18 million to $20 million. Cranberry's supervisors earlier this month approved a sewage rate increase to help pay the bill.

The cost of each 1,000 gallons of water used would increase to $7.16 from $5.67, adding about $8 a month to a residential sewage bill, according to the township.

“We all need clean water, so I'm OK with that,” said Amy Barrett of Cranberry.

The plant, which serves sections of Marshall in Allegheny County and New Sewickley in Beaver County, is built to treat 4.5 million gallons of water each day.

The township is working with the Department of Environmental Protection to determine how much capacity it will need to add.

“Once the flows reach an average daily limit, you have to tell the DEP what you plan to do. That's why we're doing this now. It's near capacity,” McKee said.

Gary Clark, a spokesman for the department, says planning can be extensive and time consuming. Cranberry has not submitted plans to DEP, and no timetable for the project has been established.

“We want to make sure the department and Cranberry are on the same page, as we do with any other municipality. We don't want people to submit plans that get rejected because that becomes more work for everyone,” Clark said.

The township also is considering raising its sewer reserve capacity fee, charged for any new construction, to $2,184 from $1,784 for each single-family home.

Cranberry is the largest of a number of fast-growing communities in southern Butler and northern Allegheny counties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

From 2000 to 2010, its population grew from 23,614 to 28,457.

Nearby Adams grew from 6,901 to 11,652 while Pine grew from 7,683 to 11,497 and Marshall's population went from 6,007 to 6,915.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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