Clearfield Borough OKs CMA's $33M plan|
Friday, November 16, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
The Clearfield Borough Council approved the Clearfield Municipal Authority's $33 million plan to replace its wastewater treatment plant interceptor lines; CMA sewer customers to see rate increases to pay for it.
Last night council voted 7-0 to approve the CMA's Act 537 Plan, which calls for the upgrades. The plan has to be approved by both the borough and Lawrence Township before going onto the state Department of Environmental Protection for review.
Lawrence Township has not yet voted on the matter.
According to borough engineer Todd Banks of Stiffler, McGraw & Associates, the CMA is undertaking the project for three reasons, to meet the new Chesapeake Bay nutrient discharge regulations, replace its 50-plus year old wastewater treatment plant and to add capacity to allow it to handle combined sewer overflows in the system.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has instituted new standards for the discharge of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous into waterways that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
To meet these standards, the state has set up a cap and trade system for wastewater treatment plants where plant operators who don't meet the new caps can buy credits on the open market from those producers who have lowered discharges below the cap.
Plus, Clearfield's sanitary sewer system still has a substantial amount of storm water getting into the system, forcing the CMA to discharge raw sewage into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. If this continues the state Department of Environmental Protection is going to begin issuing fines.
The CMA wastewater treatment plant is nearing the end of its useful lifespan and needs to be replaced
To address these issues, the CMA is planning to construct a new treatment plant that would meet the new nutrient discharge limits and handle the increased storm water flows.
Approximately $30 million of the cost is for the new treatment plant with the remaining $3 million to replace and upgrade and replace some of the sewer interceptor lines to handle the increased flows.
Like the current treatment plant, the new plant would have an average daily treatment capacity of 4.5 million gallons per day but a new water routing/bypass system would also allow it to handle up to 25 million gallons of peak flows per day.
To pay for the project, the CMA is planning to seek the maximum $20 million in loans from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority; it has a $4 million H2O grant already and plans to finance the remaining through a bond issue.
According to Banks, under the best-case scenario, CMA estimates its customers would see their sewer bills increase by $18 per month. Under the worst case scenario customers would see rates go up $37 per month Banks said.
However, if the CMA did not undertake the project customers would see rates go up $10 per month just to pay for the nutrient credits to meet the Chesapeake Bay regulations and it would still have an old sewer plant and be looking at fines from the DEP for not addressing the combined sewer overflows.
Councilman James Kling asked why they are still having storm water infiltrating its sanitary sewer system after the borough has spent $27 million to replace all of its sanitary sewer lines.
The borough and Lawrence Township's sanitary sewer system are interconnected and Kling accused the township of "dragging its feet" on fixing issues with its sewer system and said borough residents are going to end up paying more because the township hasn't addressed the issues with its sewer system and questioned why the borough replaced theirs.
Banks said the borough didn't have a choice and was required by the DEP to replace its sanitary sewer system and if it hadn't, the CMA's project would be $20 million more than it is now and the borough would still have a antiquated sewer system.
He said the borough still has some issues with storm water as well saying some residents have connected their sump pumps and roof drains to the sanitary system.
After adjournment, when asked by The Progress, Banks said only a small percentage of the project's cost is to address the storm water flows. He said the CMA estimates the new routing system at the plant would cost between $800,000 to $1 million.
To carry the storm water flows to the plant, the CMA is also upgrading/replacing some of its interceptors with larger pipes at a cost of 43 million but Banks said those interceptors are old clay pipes that are due to be replaced anyway.
He said replacing those lines with the same size of pipe would likely cost about $2.6 million for most of the cost is due to digging the trench so the total cost for the storm water overflow portion of the project is about $1.2-1.4 million.
In other business, council voted to:
• advertise its tentative 2013 budget and to keep real estate taxes at $25 mills.
It is a balanced budget that calls for $2,204,853.37 in spending and revenue. It calls for spending $852,012.75 on the police department, $322,689 on the street department; highway maintenance-repairs $60,915, sewers $83,819, traffic $17,051, $30,908 cleaning, lighting $67,978, snow removal $27,323.
It also calls for spending $118,244 on the fire department, $85,006 on the code department, $53,854 on financial administration, $37,587 on tax collection.
Budgeted salaries include $52,520 for the borough operations manager (Leslie Stott,) chief of police (Vincent McGinnis) $56,680, code enforcement officer $31,304 (Larry Mack) and solicitor (F. Cortez "Chip" Bell III) $10,500.
• approve the closing of parts of the following streets West Second Avenue, to Market Street to North Second Street to the Elks pending approval from state Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the annual Christmas parade on Dec. 1.
• pay New Enterprise Stone and Lime of New Enterprise $75,474 for the paving of Dorey Street. Banks said the project came in under budget for the borough had budgeted approximately $78,000 for the project.
• accept the resignation of Brian Dixon from the police department. Dixon has served with the department for 18 years; in his letter, Dixon said he is resigning to take a new career path.
• refer the request to close the unnamed alley between 220-222 South Second Street to the Public Works Committee and the solicitor for review.
• During the public comment portion of the meeting Brian Marshall, president of the Clearfield Swimming Pool Association asked the borough to donate to their capital campaign for renovations to the Clearfield Community Pool.
He said they have already raised $450,000 of the $500,000 of their capital campaign to pay for half of the project. He said they are hoping to receive funding from the state to fund the other half.
Marshall asked the borough to donate an amount it thinks is proper.
• Stott reported that Dr. Keely Casteel, president of the Clearfield Revitalization Corporation is requesting that the borough increase its donation next year. Last year the CRC received $250 from the borough.
During the public comment portion of the meeting Terry and Gerald Bumbarger of East Locust Street asked the borough to repair curbing along the alley of their home saying it has damaged the foundation of their home.
Stott said the matter has been referred to the borough's insurance companies and the public works committee to look at.
• Jesse Miller of East Locust Street asked the borough to reconsider the placement of No Parking signs on East Locust Street saying he no longer has a place to park.
The request was referred to the public works committee.
Councilwoman Patricia Kavelak was absent.