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Connellsville Municipal Authority mandated to conduct monitoring study

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has mandated the Connellsville Municipal Authority to conduct a monitoring study of its sewage system at a cost of at least $100,000.

The authority is expected to hold a public hearing on the monitoring study in February in an effort to keep its customers informed of the project and the cost, Chairman Jodi Enany said.

“We had a meeting with DEP, and they notified us that they want us to test the sewage flow in the early part of next year,” Enany said at Tuesday night's meeting. “We need to get cost estimates on the study.”

Solicitor Richard Husband said it is not necessary for the authority to solicit bids for the study because professional services do not require bids.

“Requests for proposals are not bound by the lowest bid,” Husband said. “Professional services are exempt from bidding requirements.”

Widmer Engineering can review the requests for proposals and make recommendations to the authority on qualified companies, Husband said.

“DEP also found some problems with statements on our sewage bills, but there is no official resolution to that issue at this time,” Enany said. “We're concentrating on the public meeting in February when we will make a presentation to the public about a long-term sewage flow plan. We also plan to explain the Clean Water Act to the public.”

The authority is looking at less expensive options for separating its combined sanitary and storm sewer system, Enany said.

Authority members said other municipalities are currently spending millions of dollars to upgrade their sewage system.

“We want to make sure that clean water is going into the river,” Enany said.

In other business, the authority discussed a proposed $1.15 million budget for 2014. Authority members will make changes to the spending plan before it is adopted at the December meeting.

“We need to figure out how much money we need to include into the 2014 budget to cover the monitoring study,” Enany said.

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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