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N. Huntingdon residents' sewage bills to climb

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 3:58 p.m.
 

Customers of the North Huntingdon Township Municipal Authority should expect a rate increase in their monthly sewage bills.

The authority's 11,600 customers will pay $30 more per year, or $2.50 per month, beginning with this month's service. Residential customers will now pay $46.80 per month, according to the authority.

Commercial customers will see a similar increase of $2.50 per month for each 4,200 gallons of water used.

The township municipal authority owns and maintains lines that collect sewage and send it to the Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority plant, along Route 993, for treatment, township authority Manager Kate Petrosky said.

The North Huntingdon authority collects from the township and sections of Sewickley Township, Irwin, Manor, Hempfield, White Oak and South Versailles.

The Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority decided in November to raise its rates by 25 percent, or $5 per month per household, effective this month. It attributes the increase to costs stemming from a state Department of Environmental Protection order requiring the authority to eliminate all wet-weather sanitary sewer overflows in the system by November 2017.

Consequently, that mandate impacts the North Huntingdon authority, which said it cannot absorb the additional costs.

The North Huntingdon authority cut the $5 charge in half for customers, adding $2.50 to each monthly bill, Petrosky said.

Residential customers will see the increase on their February bills, which cover service for the previous three months, including January, the first month affected, the authority said.

Kevin Fisher, general manager of the Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority, said that if a customer has inflow and infiltration issues, such as leaky lateral lines or roof drainage, that water flows into the authority's interceptor. But, he said, the interceptor cannot handle all the extra wet-weather flow.

Fixing the wet-weather bypasses falls to the authority, Fisher said, and it will be a costly project.

The DEP wants to see the project completed by November 2017, which Fisher said puts the authority on a tight design schedule.

The authority will need to fund the design engineering work, plus make payments on future bonds, he said.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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