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State grant could give O'Hara sewer project $100K boost

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

O'Hara Township is in line to get $100,000 from the state to help pay for a major sewer project along Saxonburg Boulevard.

The money would come from the state's Gaming Economic Development Fund, made available through the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County. O'Hara is one of 35 municipalities awaiting final approval from the Commonwealth Financing Authority this fall.

“Hopefully we'll get it,” Township Engineer Charles Steinert Jr. said. “We're looking for that work to start next year.”

The sewer line project, estimated to cost $4 million, is necessary to provide reliable sewage service to residents who rely on failing septic systems, Steinert said. Three deteriorating pump stations would be replaced with one new one under the plan.

The potential cost to property owners is unclear. Construction is expected to take up to two years.

The project is stalled, while council negotiates easement agreements with some of the 70 affected property owners.

Last month, council said the township would waive a $3,300 tap-in fee for any property owner who signed the agreement. About 10 still haven't signed, Steinert said.

Township Manager Julie Jakubec said most questions surrounding the easement agreements stem from liability issues, and that township staff is working to answer any concerns.

The agreements are necessary for the project to move forward.

“We have to go to the Department of Environmental Protection with a plan as a whole and we need these easements to bid the project,” Steinert said. Other communities in the Lower Valley that are set to get gaming grants include Indiana Township for construction of a public works garage and Cheswick for installation of sewer lines.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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