Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Local lawmakers secure $7 million to upgrade county water systems

by The Indiana Gazette on July 17, 2013 10:50 AM

The Indiana County Municipal Services Authority has been awarded nearly $7 million in grants and loans for two water service expansion projects, the county’s legislative delegation announced Tuesday.

According to the delegation, about $4.4 million from Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority is being put toward a project that will serve the Parkwood area and the county’s new Windy Ridge Business & Technology Park.

In addition, roughly $2.5 million is to go to a project to improve service in the Alverda, Cherry Tree and Uniontown areas.

Under that project, the authority will build an 86,000-gallon storage tank and install 25,000 feet of water lines to serve Alverda. The project also includes upgrades and renovations to the authority’s Cherry Tree water plant to serve Uniontown and parts of eastern Green Township.

“Basically, this funding will allow ICMSA to step in and provide water service to two parts of Indiana County that are currently served by old and deteriorating systems,” state Sen. Don White, who sits on the infrastructure investment authority board, said in a release.

“This is a quality-of-life issue for those residents, and I am pleased that PENNVEST approved this funding that will provide them with access to a safe and reliable water system,” said White, R-Indiana.

The project partly arises from a consent order with the Department of Environmental Protection requiring the Green Township Municipal Authority to abandon its existing system serving its eastern quarters and tie into ICMSA’s system.

“The … system is nothing more than an old well that was developed by a coal company,” state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City, said in a statement. “It’s insufficient to cover the needs of the community. Those residents will certainly benefit from the connection to the regional water system.”

State Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana, added that Alverda-area residents will see an improvement to their service through the project.

“The Alverda system is extremely old and prone to outages,” he said. “There have been a number of instances over the past five years where the water service has gone out. In addition, there are serious concerns about the quality of the water those customers are receiving,” he said in the release.

As for the other project, the authority intends to install 27,000 feet of water lines and three storage tanks for a two-part project.

In one part, the authority plans to upgrade water service from Parkwood to West Lebanon by eliminating the outdated West Lebanon water plant. In the other part, the authority will be constructing a new water tank to serve the new Windy Ridge Business & Technology Park located in White Township.

“This project has both a public safety and economic development aspect,” White said. “These funds will help provide safe and reliable water service to many current residential customers, while allowing the Windy Ridge Business & Technology Park to serve a wide range of potential business clients.

Among those are the park’s first tenant, Creps United Publications, which relocated there following a fire that destroyed its former plant along Philadelphia Street in White Township.

“Construction of the new Creps facility is already under way and will quickly bring back many of the jobs lost as a result of the fire and create the potential for a great many more. This is expected to be just the first step in the development of the park, which will definitely provide a substantial economic boost to our region and our citizens,” White said.

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