Lycoming County receives $4M in grants

The Commonwealth Financing Authority has approved $4 million in grants to various entities in Lycoming County.

The Montgomery Water and Sewer Authority, which serves businesses and residents with potable water in Montgomery Borough and portions of Clinton Township, received a $3 million PennWorks grant for its water system improvement project.

The project is to ensure safe, high-quality, uninterrupted drinking water to residents and businesses in its service area. This project will replace some of its more than 100-year-old infrastructure, and add a new well to comply with regulatory standards.

The rates recently were raised due to the major improvements, but the grant will help postpone further increases.

“The $3 million is a huge help so the authority won’t have to raise rates for the foreseeable future now,” said Paul Krizan, project manager for Larson Design Group and consulting engineer to the authority.

The grant was awarded in part because of the Moxie Energy project to convert natural gas to electricity, which will require a good amount of water from the authority, Krizan said. The $1 billion energy project will create about 600 jobs, he said.

The Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority received $750,000 from a PennWorks grant for water system upgrades in Fairfield and Muncy townships that involve the construction of water storage tanks.

While the authority requested twice that amount, Executive Director Christine Weigle said they are thankful for what was granted.

The full funding would have enabled construction of two water storage tanks, one on the western end of the authority’s territory and the other on the eastern end, but Weigle anticipates that now one will be constructed in 2014 into 2015, and the authority will seek further funding opportunities for the other.

Lycoming Mall Drive between Fairfield and Muncy townships is a projected growth corridor with more than 600 acres of available and planned industrial and commercial development, which gave strength to the grant application, Weigle said.

“Both (water storage tanks) are necessary to support the growth and development in that service territory,” she said. ” … We need to add additional storage and service capacity, as well as adequate fire protection for new and existing assets.”

Lycoming County received $250,000 from a baseline water quality data program grant for the collection of water supply samples from 72 private wells throughout the county. The county will do public outreach to see, which homeowners would like to participate.

While surface water has been tested adequately, the county in partnership with several entities wanted to establish a baseline for groundwater quality, specifically that which provides to private wells, said William Kelly, county planning deputy director.

The grant will go toward sampling, analyzing and interpreting the results by the United States Geological Survey and other qualified laboratories. Testing will look at the affects of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, agriculture, leaking septic systems, and industries.

“We’ll see what’s seeping into the groundwater,” said Kim Wheeler, county lead planner, community development.

The county wanted to do the project almost four years ago, but lacked funding. Natural gas drilling impact funds provided this funding, now, Kelly said.

The $342,000 project will begin January 2014 and wrap up summer 2015.

Other funding went to Bradford County. REV LNG received a $2.3 million alternative and clean energy program loan for the purchase of production plant equipment in Ridgebury Township.

In Union County, Gregg Township Municipal Authority received a $1.25 million grant for upgrades to the Allenwood wastewater treatment plant in Gregg Township. The Union County Conservation District received a $77,000 grant for best management practices in East Buffalo Township.