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Connellsville Municipal Authority moves ahead with plans to study overflow

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Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 12:31 a.m.
 

Connellsville Municipal Authority agreed Tuesday night to move ahead with plans to conduct a combined sewage overflow monitoring study mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The plan is required by DEP to make sure the municipal authority is in compliance with the Clean Water Act, according to authority member Rod Gunderson.

Authority members voted unanimously to award contracts to Widmer Engineering of Connellsville and Drnach Environmental Inc. of Elizabeth to conduct the study.

Drnach Environmental Inc. will conduct the six-month study at a cost of $227,290.40. The study will include monitoring 47 meters operated by the municipal authority.

Widmer Engineering will be paid an estimated $50,000 for work it will provide for the study, according to Doug Coffman, professional engineer for Widmer.

Coffman said two other proposals were received for the project. Savannah Environmental bid $375,600 for the project and AVS Environmental bid $346,741.

In its 2014 budget, the authority had earmarked about $200,000 for the meter monitoring and an additional $40,000 in engineering costs.

“Widmer Engineering will serve as the contractor and Drnach will serve as the subcontractor for the project,” Coffman said.

Authority Chairman Jodi Enany said the study is expected to begin in March.

“The study will monitor the combined storm sewer and sanitary flow,” Enany said.

Gunderson explained that the purpose of the study is to make sure the authority is complying with DEP regulations and the Clean Water Act.

“We want the public to know that this study isn't going to cost customers that much money,” Gunderson said.

As a comparison, Gunderson said Mt. Pleasant and Uniontown completed recent projects that separated the storm water and sanitary sewer flows.

“Those municipalities paid about $20 million to $30 million to complete those projects,” he said. “Connellsville decided to take a less expensive route.”

The authority discussed the possibility of asking Bullskin Township, Connellsville Township and South Connellsville to share in the cost of the project, which benefit customers in those areas.

“We need to review our inter-municipal agreements with those municipalities to see if we can require them to share in the cost,” Gunderson said.

The authority plans to hold a public meeting on the combined sewage system overflow monitoring study in April.

“We want to educate the public about the need for the study and the authority's requirement to comply with the Clean Water Act,” Gunderson said.

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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