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Sutersville sewage authority weighs options

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

Sewickley-Sutersville Municipal Sewage Authority may explore leasing a treatment plant in neighboring Elizabeth Township to weather difficult financial times while waiting for a decision on more state funding.

Officials for the 515-customer system reported at Monday's meeting that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority received audits from 2008 to 2011, which were recently prepared.

The sewage authority sent a letter to PennVEST in August requesting funding as its coffers are dwindling and rates have increased in past years.

Board members approved Solicitor Rich Schimizzi to inquire of Elizabeth Township Sewage Authority with regard to its position on a possible request for consent to sever a 50-year inter-municipal sewage service agreement.

The Sutersville authority is considering a number of options in order to cut down on expenses without increasing rates for customers.

One would include remaining under the agreement with the Elizabeth authority, which is considering bypassing the Buena Vista plant that treats Sutersville's sewage because of renovation costs and instead transporting it to be treated in Mc-Keesport.

Schimizzi and board members Rich Bosko and John Goodrum met with Sewickley Township and sewage authority officials there last week to discuss another option: Constructing a line through the Cowansburg pump station to connect with the neighboring Municipal Sewage Authority of the Township of Sewickley.

Schimizzi said township engineers have drafted a rough construction design estimate for a 29,000-foot — or 5-and-a-half-mile — line at a cost of just under $2 million. An additional “capital contribution” fee for each customer could also be included.

He said that plan is in the very early stages, if agreed upon by the board.

“There's a whole lot of issues that would have to be addressed before anybody puts a shovel to the ground,” Schimizzi said.

Another route for the line is also being drawn up at township and sewage officials' request that would be less direct, but would allow more remote properties in the township with potential for development to connect in to the system.

Treasurer George Herbert asked the board to consider leasing the Buena Vista plant from Elizabeth Township, if the decrease from its current capacity would ease the amount of renovations required by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at sfederoff@tribweb.com or 724-836-6660.

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