PAWC considers Lucinda system, launches Clarion projects

Crews from Mealy Excavating started work on a Pennsylvania American Water project along Liberty Street in Clarion. PAWC plans on spending $2 million on local infrastructure projects this summer. PAWC also is considering options related to a mandated sewerage system in the Lucinda area.

PAWC considers Lucinda system, launches Clarion projects

Pennsylvania American working on $2 million in local improvements this year

By Rodney L. Sherman

CLARION NEWS Editor

CLARION

Pennsylvania-American Water Co. expects to complete more than $2 million in improvements to its water and sewerage systems in Clarion County this year and the company also acknowledges it is considering expanding into the Lucinda area of Knox Township.

The state Department of Environmental Protection several years ago ordered Knox Township to correct numerous sewage problems in the Lucinda area.

Knox Township officials responded by forming the Knox Township Municipal Authority and tasking that board with resolving the sewerage issue.

Since then, the authority has considered several options, including constructing its own collection and treatment system and constructing main service lines to other sewerage treatment systems in the area.

Both options are expensive and Paint Township rejected the idea of new Knox Township sewerage lines running through its boundaries.

Plans and financing have proceeded to the point that PennVEST approved $3.1 million in funding for the project -- a $1.6 million grant and $1.5 million loan.

The loan comes with a 1 percent interest rate and 30-year payback period.

But with about 70 projected customers, the PennVEST funding option would have put customers' monthly bills at about $148.

KTMA officials have not formally accepted the PennVEST funding, hoping they can either obtain a better funding package through the next round of PennVEST project awards or possibly allowing a private company such as PAWC to construct and operate a sewerage system.

At its July meeting, KTMA board members said they had met with PAWC officials and talks "went well."

PAWC spokesperson Gary Lobaugh confirmed that assessment.

"Our participation in the meeting (in late July) was a continuation of a discussion with Knox Township officials that started a number of years ago," said Lobaugh in an email correspondence with the CLARION NEWS. "Constructing a new wastewater system and its continued maintenance would likely be a large financial burden on the citizens of Knox Township.

"One potential solution in discussion is to extend service from our existing regional system into the township."

In 2016, about 57 percent of Lucinda's on-lot sewer systems were failing. About six "wildcat" sewers makeshift affairs that discharge into ditches and streams were identified.

Lobaugh continued, "We provide wastewater service to approximately 2,800 Clarion-area customers. This regional approach increases operational efficiency and capitalizes on economies of scale for the benefit of all of our customers."

Pennsylvania American Water provides wastewater service to the following Clarion County communities: Clarion and Shippenville boroughs, and Clarion, Monroe, Paint and Elk Townships.

"We welcome the opportunity to continue these discussions on how Pennsylvania American Water can bring ourtechnical expertise and financial resources to provide a long-term wastewater solution for the residents of Knox Township," concluded Lobaugh.

Clarion Borough improvements

Meanwhile, PAWC continues to work on improvements in Clarion Borough.

"These investments will improve water and wastewater service reliability," said Pennsylvania American Water Senior Manager of Operations Toni Colavecchia. "Our new sewer mains will replace outdated pipe dating back to the 1940s and water mains installed in the 1950s."

The company will be installing almost one mile of new sewer main throughout Clarion Borough.

The sewer main replacements began last week along Liberty Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues and include the following areas:

lLiberty Street (Dietz Place to Seventh Avenue).

lLiberty Street (Ninth Avenue to North Weaver Place).

lMayfield Road.

lNorth Fifth Avenue (Liberty Street to dead end).

lRidge Road area.

lWencil Road.

Pennsylvania American Water will also be replacing approximately 4,450 feet of aging and undersized water mains along Main Street in Strattanville in mid-August.

Completion of the replacement of water and wastewater mains are expected by the end of 2019, weather permitting.

For a list of project detours and more information, contact Pennsylvania American Water at (800) 565-7292 or log on to our website at http://www.pennsylvaniaamwater.com, and select Alert Notifications.

PAWC thanked area residents and motorists for their patience while the company makes the improvements.

Pennsylvania American Water reminds motorists traveling through construction zones to obey work zone speed limits and remove any distractions while driving, including the use of cell phones.