Redstone interceptor sewage line project will cost $1.5 million

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Uniontown City Council moved ahead Wednesday with a $1.5 million project to make necessary improvements to the Redstone interceptor, a 90-year-old main sewage line feeding the plant that provides sewage service to residents in the city, as well as South Union and North Union.

The city recently secured a $1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development for the project through its H20 program, which funds sewage and water projects, according to John Over of K2 Engineering, the city's engineering firm.

Over explained that the grant requires a 50 percent match or $500,000. Uniontown's share is estimated at about $266,000, while South Union and North Union will split the remaining cost. The three municipalities have an agreement that outlines how the cost of improvements is shared.

City council unanimously agreed to hire Lisa Chiesa, an attorney for the Thorp, Reed & Armstrong law firm in Pittsburgh, to prepare the loan settlement documents with PennVEST, which is loaning the money to the city at a low interest rate for the next 20 years. The compensation for Chiesa's work is estimated at about $3,000, but city solicitor J.W. Eddy said the city's share will be about $1,500.

Eddy recommended that the city hire Chiesa to complete the complicated process.

“The city could probably take care of the loan settlement documents on its own, but it's a complicated process,” Eddy said. “I think we need to hire an expert in the field.”

Although the interest rate is estimated at about 1.8 percent for the first five years, Eddy said it will increase slightly during the remaining 15 years.

City council also hired Chiesa to negotiate a $500,000 interim bank loan until funding becomes available for the project.

Mayor Edward Fike and several council members expressed concerns about borrowing the money.

“We were told at a recent meeting that if the sewage rates were raised a nickel every month for each customer, we could come up with the $500,000,” Fike said. “We hate to borrow the money when we have done everything that we can to keep costs down. The city doesn't want to get into a lot of debt.”

Over told council members that the Redstone interceptor project is very important.

“The project is really going to help with our infiltration problems,” Over said.

Phil Mahoney, director of the city's public works department, said completing the project will eliminate a very costly upgrade to the sewage plant.

“This will really improve the flow of the pipes,” Mahoney said.

Because the city already has an agreement with both townships, Over said it will not be necessary for the city to receive approval from North Union and South Union to move ahead with the project.

“The agreement with the townships is already in place,” Over said. “They have to reimburse us for their share of the project. The cost for the townships is based on how much sewage goes through the plant.

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