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Penn Hills

Penn Hills in line to get $530K in grants for sewer, water infrastructure

Dillon Carr
| Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, 12:09 p.m.
Penn Hills Municipal ComplexPenn Hills Municipal Complex
Penn Hills Municipal ComplexPenn Hills Municipal Complex

Penn Hills is set to receive nearly $530,000 in state grants to use toward projects related to its aging sewer and water infrastructure, a news release from state Rep. Tony DeLuca’s office said.

The money is part of the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s 2018 funding round aimed at upgrading “archaic issues with our water system,” DeLuca said.

The CFA is a seven-member board that administers funds collected from the state’s natural gas impact fee, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The impact fee is an annual fee assessed to new unconventional wells drilled into the Marcellus Shale.

The authority approved projects totaling $1.8 million in Allegheny County in September, according to DCED.

In Penn Hills, a $418,200 grant was awarded to replace a section of the Lime Hollow Road sewer line to meet requirements set by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Another $110,500 was awarded to the Wilkinsburg Penn Joint Water Authority to upgrade a water storage tank in Penn Hills along Lougeay Road.

“Water infrastructure can affect our public health, so it’s important that we make any necessary upgrade for uses upfront before they become problematic,” DeLuca said in the news release.

The grant money supplements the municipality’s ongoing efforts to upgrade and repair its sewer lines. Former manager Moe Rayan said in June that Penn Hills has paid $40 million since 2010 to fix the aging system of roughly 250 miles of pipes.

The municipality budgeted about $1.5 million for sewage repairs in 2018.

Penn Hills’ sewage rates increased in 2017 when residents’ monthly sewer service rate doubled to $30 and another $3.54 was added to the charge for every 1,000 gallons of water used.

Charges for service from the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority have risen steadily since 2009, when residents paid $4.37 per 1,000 gallons used. Since then Alcosan rates have more than doubled, bringing charges up to $7.42 per 1,000 gallons used.

Penn Hills officials have no control over the rates charged by Alcosan. In all, Penn Hills residents pay a total of $18.76 per 1,000 gallons used — a 5 percent increase since 2017.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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