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Sewerage project concerns Darlington couple

| Thursday, April 11, 2013, 10:30 a.m.

Driveway access, road safety and the $1,500 tap-in fee have one Darlington couple concerned about the Ligonier Township Municipal Authority's sewer system project.

Patty Ostrowski and Bob Grotte appeared before the authority last week to complain about the lack of communication between the board and the community.

“You really need to keep the residents a little more informed,” Grotte said. He and Ostrowski, who are engaged, live on Ligonier 157 Road in a rural neighborhood with about 11 cottages.

“We didn't know it was coming up our lane, and when you try to talk to the guys out there, they don't tell you anything,” Grotte said.

Ostrowski said she was afraid that while crews worked on installing sewer lines on her lane she would not be able to access her home. In addition, she expressed concern that workers might shorten the roots of pine trees, which are 150 feet tall and line the street in front of her home.

“We were just totally shocked (the project) was coming up that way. We've received no notice and no response to our questions, and there's some serious life impact here,” Ostrowski said.

Project engineer Mark Gera said state laws require that residents are able to access their home. Gera said someone would be out to speak to the couple about the pine trees, and adjustments would be made if necessary.

But there's no stopping the project, he said.

“We have taken great steps to educate the community on this project,” solicitor Don Snyder said. “Frankly, I've been doing this for 38 years, and the efforts of this board have been exemplary in communicating with the people.”

The Ligonier Township sewage system project is a multi-phase, state-mandated project, Chairman Glen Kalp said.

The completed first phase, dubbed “Ligonier East,” required residents along Route 30 to tap into the sewage line. That project has been expanded to provide service into Laughlintown.

Those with properties within 150 feet of the main lines are required by township law to pay a $1,500 tap-in fee and to pay to link their home to the line.

The Darlington area is the second phase of the plan, expected to cost about $10 million. It includes providing a public sewage line to serve about 340 homes now using septic tanks or leach fields for sewage disposal and a sewage treatment plant west of Longbridge on Route 30.

There have been several public meetings held on each phase of the project.

“It's something that's got to be done, whether you like it or not,” Kalp said.

In other news, authority members hired the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County to handle the on-site management and sludge disposal for the sewage treatment plant, which is 54 percent complete, according to Gera.

Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com.

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