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Carroll authority carries sewage dispute to people

| Friday, May 30, 2003

CARROLL TWP. - More than 100 Carroll Township residents attended a meeting they thought would provide information for a future sewage treatment plant.

However, many walked out of the meeting before it adjourned, with many unanswered questions.

The presentation by Carroll Sewage Authority Chairman Harry Lee Buell rehashed the decades-old legal battle with the Municipal Authority of the City of Monongahela.

Wastewater from Carroll Township is treated at the Monongahela plant.

The Thursday presentation at the Carroll Social Hall featured information on arbitration proceedings and alleged improprieties by Monongahela's sewage authority.

The concept of an independent treatment plant was not broached until late in the hour-long presentation - much to the chagrin of many in attendance.

"It was my understanding that they were going to talk about the new sewage plant," said Manuel Yocolano, of Carroll Township.

He called the meeting "a waste of time," adding it included so many numbers that it was difficult to follow.

"You can't give them that many numbers and expect people to understand it," he said. "There was nothing for (residents) here."

Zara Pesognelli, of Carroll Township, agreed.

"I thought they were going to discuss a plant of our own, but they didn't seem to touch on that too much."

She said that while the information was helpful, it provided little hope for a solution.

"Everything goes up and there's nothing we can do about it," she said of Carroll Township's rising sewage treatment costs. "It's just not fair."

After the meeting, Buell said that while a new plant would be preferred,the township is bound to the 1971 contract with Monongahela until 2018.

Buell, who asked for no public comment at the meeting, said a new facility would cost about $10 million, although it would take help from the Department of Environmental Protection to make that happen.

To negate the local agreement, DEP would have to redistrict Carroll Township, Buell claimed.

He said that his goal wasn't to discuss a new treatment plant, but to get residents' collective attention.

"My goal was to get people interested because it is not a one-man show. There is very little I can do," he said after the meeting. "I want them to get ahold of their congressmen ... I think the school district should get involved ... I can't do it. I'm just one little, old fat boy - and I'm not getting any younger."

According to Buell, Carroll Township residents pay a $49.50 monthly sewage bill, and Monongahela residents pay just $18 per month.

Buell said that if the issues are not resolved in CTA customers' favor, they could face monthly bills in excess of $65.

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