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Westmoreland

East Huntingdon lands $10.5 million in federal grants and loans for sewage expansion

Paul Peirce
| Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, 12:24 p.m.

A sanitary sewer expansion is in store for East Huntingdon after the township landed $10.5 million in grants and financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Officials expect “the dirt to fly” by 2020 on a roughly $11.6 million expansion project.

“We certainly landed a big fish,” supervisor chairman Joel Suter said. “But I can tell you that a lot of people including the township board of supervisors, engineer, Westmoreland Fayette Municipal Sewage Authority and others put a lot of work into getting this done.”

“We’ve been working on this for at least five years,” Suter said.

Anne Hazlett, the Department of Agriculture’s secretary for rural development, said the township will receive a grant of $5.43 million and federal low-interest loans totaling $5.07 million. It was among 120 infrastructure projects funded through the agency’s water and waste disposal loan and grant program.

It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2010 the township’s population was about 7,960.

Suter said the nearly $1.1 million still needed for the project will be raised through user tap-in fees.

According to Suter, construction of a sanitary sewer collection system and pump station will expand the existing service to add at least 709 homes in the township. He said sewage lines are expected to be added in the vicinity around Scottdale Borough, North Scottdale, Alverton, the Pine Tree area, Thornwood and along Scottdale Smithton Road to Mt. Nebo Road.

“A lot of the preliminary work has been completed, but there is still a lot of design work and permitting that needs to be done. I anticipate that will take at least a year before construction begins,” he said.

Suter said the sewage will be pumped to an existing authority sewage pump station in the Old Meadow Mill area of the township.

“This gives us the money needed to extend sewer lines to a lot of areas that we would not be able to afford otherwise,” Suter said.

Suter, who has been a supervisor for 43 years, said this is the largest grant-loan award the township has received from any federal or state agency during his eight terms.

“Between 1998-2000, we received a PennVEST award of $4.5 million, also for sewage when the Walmart went in off of Route 819, but nothing ever this big. We’re definitely happy about it,” Suter said.

Victor P. Regola & Associates in Youngwood is the project engineer.

East Huntingdon’s grant-loan award was among $392 million the department of agriculture announced this week aimed at assisting rural communities to rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states.

One other project was approved in Pennsylvania — a $1.86 million loan for the Bloomsburg Borough Water Authority in Columbia County.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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