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Sewer plant sale progresses

Richard Fulton

(3/13) The sale of the Orrtanna Wastewater Treatment plant is somewhat closer to being finalized as the result of action taken at the March 5 meeting of the Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors.

The problematic treatment facility came under fire from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2010, the state agency claiming that the plant was deficient and was too old, and that the facility had to be upgraded to current standards.

The township is still awaiting a DEP consent agreement addressing the deficiencies, which will include construction of a new pumping station, among other perceived remedies, and the timelines that would be involved in executing the state requirements.

As a result of the DEPís 2010 action, the township began to review viable options in 2011 regarding the old facility, such as rebuilding a new wastewater treatment plant verses disposing of the facility altogether and getting out of the municipal wastewater treatment business altogether.

Hamiltonban was then approached by Franklin Township, also seeking to dispose of their wastewater facility, to partner in the sale of both township plants. This subsequently resulted in the creation of an inter-municipal agreement between the two municipalities to jointly try and sell their respective facilities.

In 2012, the sale of the treatment plants progressed to the point that an agreement of sale was reached with Pennsylvania America Water Company, Hershey, was drafted.

The Hamiltonban supervisors approved a resolution at their March meeting to make the agreement official in order to facilitate the approval of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) to proceed with the sale.

The settlement is not expected to happen until 2014, according to township Supervisor Vice-chairwoman Coleen N. Reamer.

In the interim, when Hamiltonban does complete the mandated pumping station, Pennsylvania America Water will construct a connection line between that station and the Franklin Township treatment plant to convey the wastewater to that facility for treatment, as the old Orrtanna plant is taken off-line.

Hamiltonban has also received $496,500 from an H2O grant to help defray the cost of the construction of the pumping station, although the final cost of the construction has yet to be determined.

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