West Branch sewer authority will analyze basements

MUNCY – The West Branch Regional Authority will receive a $22,969,626 low-interest loan and a $5,491,723 grant from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, also known as PENNVEST.

With the influx of funds, the sewer authority is ready to begin sending field workers around to check local basements and analyze sump pumps.

The funding will reduce the consumer cost by about $10 a month, according to Eric Moore, executive director of the authority.

“This is an important thing for Lycoming County. It brings us one step closer to creating a sustainable water treatment plan at an affordable cost to users,” Moore said.

“If we had been forced into the private loan market, we almost certainly would have had to accept a loan with a higher interest rate,” he added.

The funding will help offset the cost of the new regional wastewater treatment plant which is expected to serve about 10,000 residents. Moore said construction on the plant is expected to begin soon.

“Right now, we’re in the process of bidding on contractors,” Moore said.

The new plant, which will modernize the areas wastewater treatment system, is expected to be finished in March of 2015.

The authority will send workers around to residents’ homes in to analyze basements and sump pumps in order to remain in compliance with standards set by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“We need to address the issue of runoff. We’re hoping to gather information and address these issues along the main line, rather than ask the homeowners to replace their lateral sewer lines. We recognize that is a costly upgrade for most homeowners,” Moore said.

He added that workers with the authority will have identification on them at all times and never will ask for any form of cash payment.

“We’ve never had a problem around here, but I’ve heard of other locations where scam artists would go around pretending to work for a sewer authority, fine homeowners, ask for the fine to be paid in cash and then pocket the money,” Moore said.

“We just want to let people know that any infraction the inspectors might find will be addressed through the mail. Homeowners can also come in and speak to us at our office,” he added.

Later this week, some residents will receive a card with contact information on it.

“If a homeowner sees that card, they know that we are in their neighborhood that week, and they should try and schedule a time with us when our workers can come,” Moore said.