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Harmar Water Authority seeks alternative to $1.38M PennVEST loan

| Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, 10:39 p.m.

The Harmar Water Authority has put a $1.38 million PennVEST loan on hold.

The authority last week voted to accept the loan, but it did not make a commitment to receive the money.

Instead, the authority will continue to pursue other options, such as a grant for less than $500,000 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Members said if they get the 20-year loan, rates would have to go up for the nearly 1,000 water customers.

“We just have too many issues right now,” board member Evie Perrett said. “We'd have to have quite a few meetings before we'd go ahead with (the loan).”

First on the priority list is a deteriorating 150,000-gallon storage tank that needs to be replaced.

An obsolete ozone system also needs to be replaced.

Officials said the PennVEST loan approval, first announced by state Sen. Randy Vulakovich in July, can be shelved for about 18 months before the authority would have to accept the money.

The authority also can scale down the amount accepted, which officials said would be a Plan B in the event none of the grants comes through.

Engineer Tom Thompson said the new tank also would be 150,000 gallons.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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