U.S. Water News Online
ALTOONA, Pa. -- As a 2010 deadline looms to upgrade sewage
facilities, Altoona-area communities are discovering that a
multistate agreement to clean up Chesapeake Bay could cost local
taxpayers millions of dollars.
About three dozen counties in central Pennsylvania fall in the
Chesapeake Bay watershed and are obligated by the deal signed in 2000
to cut nutrients dumped into the nation's largest estuary.
As local officials study the requirements and look over options
for upgrading their sewage plants, they are realizing compliance will
cost millions of dollars, forcing them to significantly increase
costs for customers.
The state has given local governments until this summer to present
detailed plans for upgrading the treatment plants, including
financing plans, construction schedules and technology and
environmental reviews, said Ray Meyers, engineering consultant for
Huntingdon and Tyrone boroughs.
John Montgomery, supervisor of the Bedford Borough Municipal
Authority, said his facilities' plan was revised six years ago, but
he still does not know who is supposed to fund the upgrade. "We want
to know who's paying for it -- that is our primary concern," he said.
George Boloski, wastewater treatment supervisor for the Altoona
City Authority, said the planning stage for the upgrade is under way,
but he also doesn't know where the money will come from.
Huntingdon Borough is reviewing eight upgrade possibilities that
could cost anywhere from $5.5 million to $29 million -- resulting in
an estimated cost increase to customers of $15 to $30 per month.
Under the Chesapeake Bay agreement, 63 sewage facilities in
Pennsylvania must have upgrades in place by September 2010. By 2012,
all the wastewater treatment plants that fall under the deal must
have their upgrades completed.
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