Cost-saving changes outlined at authority meeting

WELLSBORO – In a short meeting that fell midway between projects, according to borough manager Daniel Strausser, municipal authority board members heard a brief update on projects and a decision that saved them from an $800,000 expense.

The Pall membrane filter plant for the borough’s water system is moving forward “one step at a time.”

“We have poured the foundation and floor and they will start Aug. 13 erecting the building and that won’t take long because it is a fabric building,” he said.

Two rooms will be constructed inside the tarp building, then an emergency generator will arrive “and then we will tie the electrical together and the Pall unit can be delivered,” he added.

Anticipated completion is the middle of September, Strausser said.

On another project, Strausser said the failure of one of the sewer plant’s “screw pumps” about three months ago prompted the borough to purchase submersible pumps for the plant at a greater savings, instead of replacing the nearly 30 year old pumps.

“It was $225,000 to purchase one (pump) and there are three and the other two are the same age, so we decided to go a different route and put submersible pumps in there, costing us $250,000 to remove all three and put new submersibles in, compared to replacing all three screw pumps” at a cost of $800,000, Strausser said.

The pumps and have been repaired repeatedly, he added.

Because only one pump failed, no one noticed any problems with their sewer service, he said, but “If one of the other two go down, we would be in trouble,” he said.

The pumps should be delivered by end of July.

Finally, Strausser reported to the board that about $500,000 was paid on one of its loans saving the borough around $300,000 in interest.

“We will now start paying every month instead of semi annually saving another $10,000 in interest,” he said.

“That was made possible by the natural gas lease we signed last year, which is also paying for the water plant and sewer pumps,” Strausser added.