Aldick Water System improvements aired
Published: December 20, 2012
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OAK GROVE - The Pine Grove Township Authority (PGTA) was recently briefed on the status of planned improvements to the former Aldick Water System. The system provides drinking water to residents of Swatara Village and Creek, as well as the Waterbridge Nursing Facility.
Authority engineer, John Williams of the Harrisburg area, reported November 21 he and Authority Chairman John Stahl have been working on a new budget to be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. According to Williams the original budget submitted for the H2O grant to upgrade the system included $100,000 to drain a lagoon located within the Village complex. Since that was not needed, a new budget must be approved in order to add other improvements to the system, such as the purchase of land on which Well #2 is located and land on which a 100,000 gallon holding tank will be constructed. According to Williams, other items in the original budget were also updated to include more factual figures.
Although the PGTA had signed the sales agreement for the purchase of the Aldick System in October 2010, problems with the bankruptcy proceedings delayed the authority from taking actual ownership until October 2011. During that time, the authority received notification that it had been awarded a $500,000 H2O grant applied for in June 2010. The grant, the DCED had said, needed to be spent by June 2013. Because of that, the authority decided to request a six-month extension.
Williams also explained that both he and Stahl had thought that Well #2 had already been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. Since that is untrue, quotes were recently obtained from hydrologists to perform the required testing. Carlyne Gray of Myerstown was hired at a cost of $8,200.
"I contacted the DEP and explained that time is of the essence," said Williams. He said he asked them to review the plans for the 100,000 gallon holding tank and the pipelines now, with the hydrologist's report to follow. "Maybe," he said, "it may hurry up things."
Williams explained that an Erosion and Sedimentation Plan permit is quite detailed if the area is over an acre. Because of that he planned on disturbing only .8 of an acre. In addition, he is developing a permit application for PennDOT to make two bores under Route 443 for the piping leading to the holding tank.
A brief discussion about tapping fees, equivalent dwelling units (EDU), and quarterly fees brought an offer from Williams to assist the authority in making those decisions. The members also discussed possible purchases of existing wells as other businesses in the area would get on the system. "Keep that door open," urged Williams.
Stahl noted an idea he has been thinking about concerning the current customer base which he described as unique in that most of the households only have two people, and many, only one. He said he thought, once the system was completed and motels and fast food restaurants were connected, that possibly the first 2,000 gallons of water could be included in the basic rate for residential customers. "We're not in shape for that yet," said Stahl.
According to Stahl, the annual revenue is only $45,000, but since the authority began quarterly billing last January that money has been kept for the matching money needed for the H2O grant. In addition Stahl noted that only $30,000 of the $250,000 borrowed from the township remains and another $30,000 may have to be borrowed. When the project is completed, however, the authority, he said, can take out a loan and repay the township. Then, he said, the authority can focus on the other side of Route 443, making water available for commercial development and jobs. "We don't have to sell the value of an interchange property to Harrisburg," he noted.
Complaint chairman Ed Dowlin reported he had received one complaint of brown and black water in a toilet. When he questioned his fellow residents whether the lack of complaints was a sign everything was good or were they just waiting, several e-mailed that there still were problems, but people are just being patient.
The authority's budget formulated by Stahl and John Benner will be sent to the board members two weeks before the December meeting for review. According to Stahl, he felt the budget is probably in the condition that it can be adopted at the December meeting.
Stahl will also research whether Benner could perform the annual audit or whether an outside CPA would need to be hired.