The Cheswick Council is significantly underestimating the costs of refurbishing the borough's defunct water-treatment plant.
My preliminary estimate indicates that refurbishing and operating the water plant will cost at least $5.5 million over the next 15 years — about $1.7 million of that for capital costs, including engineering, equipment and storage tanks.
This would require a loan, which may not be available.
To cover the costs, the water price for Cheswick's 800-plus residential customers will be at least $7.60 per 1,000 gallons. This does not include any additional costs due to requirements from the state Department of Environmental Protection or emergency situations that may arise.
Resurrecting the water plant appears to be the highest cost option available.
For comparison, had the current council approved purchasing water from neighboring Oakmont, the price would have been closer to $5.60 per 1,000 gallons, less than the approximately $7 per 1,000 we're currently paying for water from Harmar.
These are preliminary estimates, but they point out the continuing need for better planning and assessment by our council to provide Cheswick residents the best quality water — at the most affordable price — over the long term.
Paul P. Jack
The writer is a civil engineer and a former Cheswick councilman.
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