$7M Lower Burrell pump station upgrade could lead to sewage rate increases
The Chartiers pump station upgrade project in Lower Burrell is expected to cost about $7 million causing a rate increase for city residents at some point in the future.
Exactly when and how much of a rate increase is not yet known, according to city officials.
The Lower Burrell Municipal Authority on Monday sent a report on the project particulars to Lower Burrell Council. Council members said during their regular meeting Monday night that they are reviewing the details on the design and scope of the project.
Mayor Rich Callender said he has been asking the Municipal Authority for details on the project.
“My issue is to know the size of project we are doing here,” Callender said.
The multi-million dollar project is part of the Municipal Authority’s 17-year long-term control plan for sewage system upgrades estimated to cost about $31 million, according to Callender.
Raw and partially treated sewage spews into the Allegheny River from Lower Burrell and other communities served by the Municipal Sanitary Authority of the City of New Kensington during heavy rains. The Allegheny River is the drinking water supply for many Alle-Kiski valley communities and nearly 500,000 residents of the City of Pittsburgh.
Like a number of communities in the region with old or inadequate sewage systems, Lower Burrell is under a consent decree from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection to eliminate or decrease combined sewage overflows into public waterways.
Specifically, the Lower Burrell project will update the Chartiers pump station and add a storage tank to regulate flow. The pump station is nearly 30 years old and has outdated mechanical and electronic equipment, according to city officials.
The Chartiers pump station is located at the bottom of Edgecliff Road, where it pumps sewage from about half of the city through the Leechburg Road area then to the treatment plant in New Kensington.
The Municipal Authority needs approval from City Council to guarantee its loans. Currently, the Authority is asking City Council to approve an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million bridge loan to repair a high-pressure sewage line from the Chartiers pump station and engineering work for the Chartiers project.
The Municipal Authority will need a future PennVest loan to pay for the Chartiers project and pay off the bridge loan, according to Kevin Lettrich, chairman of the Lower Burrell Municipal Authority.
In 2014, the Lower Burrell Municipal Authority prepared a tentative, prioritized list of projects over the next 20 years with a price tag of $12.5 million.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .