By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
As plans for Mercer's new sewage treatment plant move forward, the borough is accepting comments from the system's customers.
The Mercer Borough Wastewater Treatment Plant serves Mercer and parts of Coolspring, East Lackawannock and Findley townships and those residents can submit comments through Feb. 27 on the official sewage facilities plan update.
The plan can be reviewed at the borough building and the comments can be sent to: Borough of Mercer, 145 N. Pitt St., Mercer, PA 16137.
The plant needs an upgrade to address hydraulic overloads and meet future sewer needs, and the estimated total cost of the project is $11,608,700, according to the plan summary that explains the borough's consent order and agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The average monthly cost for sewer customers was estimated via DEP documents to be $94 when the new $11.6 million plant is up and running Sept. 30, 2017, however, Mercer borough officials are hoping monthly sewer bills don't reach $94. They are applying for grants to help cover the cost and hope monthly sewer bills reach no more than $75, said council and sewage committee member Frank Curl. Sewer bills, which are based on water usage, currently average $45.
The plant upgrade will result in a conventional sequencing batch reactor treatment process -- a single stage treatment process that was chosen based on its cost and net value and because it frees significant space at the plant if needed, according to the plan summary.
According to the proposed implementation schedule:
The borough has until March 31 to submit the plan update to DEP, then DEP expects to review and approve the plan by Sept. 27.
The permitting process takes the project to Dec. 26, and the notice to proceed is expected to be issued to contractors by Sept. 27, 2015.
The new facility, which will be built at the current site on Fish For Fun Road, is expected to be ready on Sept. 30, 2017.
The current treatment plant was built in the 1970s to handle a million gallons of water a day, and leaks in the aging infrastructure during heavy rains often overwhelm the plant with more than 3.5 million gallons, according to Allied News and Herald files.
Residents are responsible for repairing or replacing bad lateral lines, which can be costly or inexpensive, depending on the length of the line, and while smoke-testing, dye-testing and monitoring manholes are good ways to check for leaks, the best solution is to build a new plant, borough officials have said.
Mercer councilman Frank Curl has said he hopes a new system will help spur development in the borough.
Published Feb. 12, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.