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County taking next step in Chesapeake Bay strategy

April 25, 2008
A Mechanicsburg-based consulting firm is picking up where a day-long stakeholder’s workshop left off regarding the initiative to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

On Thursday, the Lycoming County commissioners approved a contract with Delta Development Group to begin putting together a game plan to bring county municipal sewage treatment facilities into compliance with state regulations involving the discharge of nutrients into the Susquehanna River watershed.

The firm acted as moderator of a meeting in March during which representatives of municipalities, sewage treatment facilities, county and state officials and others met to begin discussing how to address problems surrounding the bay initiative.

According to William Kelly, deputy director of the county Department of Planning and Community Development, the contract calls for the firm to spend 90 days developing a strategy for upgrading seven municipal sewage treatment plants and also to pinpoint ways in which pollution can be reduced at non-point sources such as agriculture and stormwater runoff.

The firm will assess the impact the bay cleanup initiative will have on industry and lay the foundation for a steering committee which will guide pollution reduction strategies over the long term.

After the 90 days are up, the county will assess the situation and determine what further action needs to be taken, Kelly said.

The contract is for $100,000, he said.

The commissioners approved an application with the state Department of Community and Economic Development for $2.5 million through the Business in Our Sites Program.

According to Kelly, the money will be used to expand the public water system at Halls Station into the undeveloped area of Muncy Industrial Park and the Timber End property north of Interstate 180 at the Lycoming Mall interchange.

The expanded system will provide enough water to support industrial development in the areas, Kelly said.

The county may ask for up to half of the funding as a grant and the rest as a low-interest loan, Kelly said.

The commissioners approved a contract with architectural and engineering firm Larson Design Group to perform the design work on a covered bridge near Lairdsville.

The county owns three covered bridges, county transportation planner Mark Murawksi said.

Two of them were completely renovated in 1998. The bridge near Lairdsville will be completely refurbished “from top to bottom,” he said.

Renovations to the bridge will be historically accurate, he said.

State provides funding to counties to maintain their covered bridges, only 200 of which remain in the state, Murawksi said.

The cost of the entire project, including the design work, is expected to be about $820,000, he said.

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