Authority awaits progress on new treatment plant
Westmoreland Fayette Municipal Sewage Authority officials are continuing to look for progress in the construction of a new sewage treatment plant.
The authority was approved for funding last year, but the paperwork phase - permit approvals and design work - has yet to be completed. The authority has two and a half years to construct the new plant and have the facility up and running.
The existing facility is permitted for 1.6 million gallons a day. The new facility will be able to handle 2.5 million gallons a day.
The current treatment plant has a trickling filter with a peak flow of 2.5 million gallons a day, while the proposed sequential batch reactor will have a peak flow of 25 million gallons a day.
Authority board member Tom Seaman recently gave an update to members of Scottdale Borough Council on the progress of the project.
The authority has completed its Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan that has been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and Part 1 of the NPDES discharge permit was submitted to the DEP in March of last year.
“The authority is awaiting DEP review, comment and issuance of a draft of the Part I permit, which will establish the facility's discharge limits,” Seaman said. “These limits are the basis of the design for the new treatment facility.
“We have not received any comments from the DEP at this time, but we hope to hear something in the next few months,” he added.
As soon as the authority has that, it can move forward with the Part II NPDES construction permit, but this permit application cannot be submitted to the DEP until after the draft Part I Permit has been issued.
The application for the Part II Permit includes full construction drawings and specifications and a design report for the plant, pump station and Interceptor upgrades.
“Widmer has progressed with the design as far as reasonably possible without knowing the design parameters,” Seaman said, adding that the design is about 75 percent complete. “A design submission has been transmitted to the USDA and US Army Corps of Engineers for review and comment.”
Plans for the Interceptor upgrade still need to be submitted to the DEP.
“The scope of this work initially included the installation of a parallel gravity interceptor line from the treatment facility to the Sweedtown Pump Station,” Seaman said. “But during the design process, it was discovered that the Westmoreland County Water Authority had constructed a 42-inch water line directly over and adjacent to the existing interceptor, making it impractical to construct the interceptor as initially planned.”
Multiple alternative alignments have been investigated and a preferred solution is being finalized.
Also, Seaman said the authority is hoping all of the easements and right of way issues will be taken care of within another three months.
Funding for the project includes a $2 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grant as well as a $14,394,000 loan from the USDA.
Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.