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$18.9 Million Allocated for Sewer Projects by the State

Senator Don White and Representative Jeff Pyle celebrate success in acquiring money for local municipalities.

State Senator Don White (R-41) and State Representative Jeff Pyle (R-60) presented three checks yesterday totaling over $18 million for three municipal sewer projects in Armstrong County.

"Water and sewer – basic infrastructure – is so critical to this district and its future development,” White said. “This is going to change lives.”

“You can talk about buildings and roads… they are important. This is basic fundamental infrastructure that in the 21st century we need if we are going to move this county forward.”

White and Pyle presented checks from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) during a ceremony held in the Commissioners Conference Room at the courthouse.


East Franklin Township

The largest check went to East Franklin Township in the amount of $10,481,215. The amount represented a grant in the amount of $9,396,646 and a low-interest loan of $1,084,569.

East Franklin Supervisor Dave Stewart said the money will be used to build sewage treatment plants and a collection system in the communities of Tarrtown, Adrian, and Cowansville. Currently, the three areas of the township only have septic tank systems. The three villages will also have pump stations involved to pump the sewage to the treatment plant. “At this amount of money, it will make it very affordable for those residents,” Stewart said.

East Franklin Township Supervisors accept funds from the Commonwealth for a sewer project. Pictured are Dave Stewart, Doug Flanders, Barry Peters, and Senator Don White with Representative Jeff Pyle.Barry Peters, Supervisor Chairman, explained that people are trying to sell property and this will help property values. “We have areas now where raw sewage is running out on the streets and going into streams,” he said.

Bankson Engineers of Indianola, PA have been the consulting engineers on the project. Engineer Ken Howard explained the phasing schedule. “We are at the right-of-way acquisition phase of the project and hopefully we will have them from private land owners by end of May. Now that we are funded, we have a very tight time line to get the project out for bid. We anticipate receiving bids for construction of the project on July 23.”

East Franklin is holding meetings at the township building over the next three Saturdays from 9AM until 1PM for residents to come and have questions answered, and sign right-of-way documents to grant the township for the sewer system.

Howard says the township will attempt to work with land owners to avoid conflicts. “If we can move the line to avoid obstacles on their property or do the least amount of damage, we will do that to the best of our ability.” Howard cautioned that the municipality does have the right of eminent domain to cease property, but doesn’t want to exercise that option. “That’s not our first choice. We would rather negotiate. It is an enhancement to their property to eliminate contaminated sewage from running into the ditches and streams.”  He said the donation of the land to the township will be in exchange for increased value.

Once installed, the monthly fee is expected to be approximately $50. 

Supervisor Doug Flanders said the project was started ten years ago. “We actually had to spend engineering money up front hoping the day would come where we could pull the project off the shelf and reap some benefit. This is going to be a real blessing to those areas in East Franklin Township.”

Flanders says a letter is being sent out to residents in the next few days giving information so they know what to expect.


Peter Graff accepts funds on behalf of the Kittanning Borough Municipal Authority from Senator Don White.


Kittanning Borough

The Kittanning Borough Municipal Authority received $6.9 million to complete its on-going sewer separation project. The $5,525,000 grant combined with a $1,375,000 low-interest loan will be used to install 12,000 feet of new sanitary sewers, convert existing sewers to storm sewers, and install 2,000 feel of storm sewers.



Ford City Municipal Sewage Authority

The Ford City Borough Sewage Disposal Authority received a $1,570,000 low-interest loan to install 5,700 feet of sanitary sewers along with converting the existing combined sewers into storm sewers.

Zoltar Kupas represents Ford City Borough Sewage Disposal Authority in accepting funds from Senator Don White.Jim Smerick, Superintendent of the sewage authority, explained the project. “We have a portion of the town that the storm sewer and sanitary sewer are together. When it rains, some of that sewage overflows and goes to the river with the storm water. Through the direction of DEP, we were mandated to separate them. This money will be used to create two different sewers with a new connection to each household. The existing sewer line will be used for storm sewer only.”

Drawings will now be finalized and the bid process will begin. Bid specifications will be established and sent out to contractors. “We expect work to begin later this year,” Smerick said. “We have a three year time frame for it to be completed but I don’t expect it to take that long. It will depend on the selection of the contractor.”

Smerick said a pilot program was done on Sixth Avenue in 2002. “I invite residents to look at the 1200 to 1300 block of Sixth Avenue and see what it will look like when it is done. There will be some disruption, but we will do our best to get it completed and move forward.”

Smerick said they were fortunate to be approved for a block grant from the county to assist low income residents in paying for the line between the tap and the house. He said the actual tap-in fee will be between $800 to $1,200.

“Ford City has been hacking away on this for a long time,” Jeff Pyle said, “but this represents a very significant portion of where they have to be for the project’s completion.”

“I can’t wait to be around with the Commissioners and these municipalities when we put that first shovel in the ground,” Senator White told the municipalities.

Other Armstrong County projects receiving loans included $7.2 million low-interest loan to Buffalo Township to construct a new water treatment plant servicing parts of Armstrong and Butler counties and to install 18,000 feet of water lines; Apollo Borough received a  grant of $7million for installation of 39,000 feet of sanitary sewers; Redbank Municipal Authority received $2.799,550 to replace surface water intake along Redbank Creek; and Hawthorn Redbank Municipal Authority received $1,388,000 in grant money and $1 million in low-interest loans to construct 200,000 gallon storage tank and a transmission main. The construction will also include 15,000 feet of 8-inch waterline in Oakridge and Redbank Township.