Drilling fees may go to area water projects

Lycoming County commissioners are expected to grant gas drilling impact funds to the Hughesville Borough Water Authority and the Tiadaghton Valley Municipal Authority.

No more than $25,000 could go to the Hughesville Borough Water Authority to replace a water valve in the borough where routes 220 and 405 meet, according to Bill Kelly, deputy director of the county department of planning and community development.

The valve at that location has suffered a leak too difficult for the authority to repair or replace itself, so it has requested financial support from the county, according to Kelly.

“It’s a good request,” he told county commissioners Tuesday morning, adding that the authority, unlike the borough, does not directly receive funds from gas drilling impact fees. “It’s water infrastructure support, not just for the borough … but for all the traffic going through there.”

Kelly also presented the commissioners with a $100,000 request from the Tiadaghton Valley Municipal Authority. Those funds would help cover a portion of the cost for the demolition and removal of the old wastewater treatment plant that rests on a flood zone in Jersey Shore.

That plant has been replaced by a new, state-of-the-art facility in Nippenose Township to serve that township and Porter Township, as well as the village of Antes Fort and the borough of Jersey Shore. The new facility is part of a $22 million project that began more than a decade ago to meet nutrient reduction requirements set by the Chesapeake Bay Initiative and prevent excess discharge into the Susquehanna River, Kelly said. The new plant went into operation on March 29.

“This is for the express purpose of taking down the old sewer plant,” he told the commissioners. “Everything they’ve done so far has been on their nickel” and through state and federal loans, he said of the Tiadaghton Valley Municipal Authority.

In other business, the commissioners may approve $300,000 Thursday for STEP Inc.’s Homes-In-Need program to make repairs to homes in the Brodart Neighborhood Improvement Program. The project is funded through a $1.3 million grant the county was awarded in 2013 through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, according to Kim Wheeler, county department of planning and community development lead planner.

The work includes heating system repairs or replacements, shell repairs, and code deficiency upgrades, Wheeler said.

The commissioners also will consider approving $50,000 of that same grant to be used for Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush With Kindness Program, which focuses on minor repairs to homes, as well as landscaping and exterior clean up.

Wheeler told the commissioners that the program uses volunteers to complete the work and that it is a new component of the Brodart Neighborhood Improvement Project.

The next county commissioners meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on July 31 at the Pine Street Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.