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HERMITAGE Officials: Too soon to seek $9.2M for plant



Published: Fri, February 22, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Officials said Sharon should wait to see if Upper Shenango Valley can halt its surface water infiltration.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

HERMITAGE, Pa. -- City commissioners say Sharon's proposal that the Upper Shenango Valley Water Pollution Control Authority pick up the tab for $9.2 million in improvements to the Sharon sewage plant is a bit premature.

The commissioners were reacting to Sharon's Act 537 sewage treatment plan that has been presented to the state Department of Environmental Protection for approval.

The state has mandated that Sharon correct sewage overflows at its plant. Upper Shenango Valley, which covers parts of Hermitage and South Pymatuning Township as well as all of Sharpsville, sends its sewage to the Sharon plant for treatment.

Sharon's plan says that to reduce the flow at the plant, it will spend about $12 million over the next three years to eliminate an estimated 2.2 million gallons of surface water infiltration into its sewer lines.

Here's the problem: The plant is rated at 4.5 million gallons per day but has reached 7.8 million gallons per day during wet weather.

Sharon is supposed to be putting no more than 3 million gallons per day through the plant, and Upper Shenango Valley is supposed to limit its flow to 1.5 million gallons per day.

Sharon's plan shows that it is responsible for 2.2 million gallons of the overflow and that Upper Shenango Valley is responsible for the remaining 1.1 million gallons.

The plan says Sharon will take care of its 2.2 million gallons over the next three years but it is unlikely that the Upper Shenango Valley will be able to eliminate its 1.1 million gallons during that time.

Accordingly, should the Sharon treatment plant need to be expanded to handle that additional flow, the full cost, estimated at $9.2 million, should be borne by the Upper Shenango Valley municipal members, Sharon's plan says.

Gary Hinkson, Hermitage city manager, said the Hermitage commissioners and Upper Shenango Valley believe that conclusion is premature.

The member municipalities are committed to removing surface water infiltration from their lines and any final Sharon Act 537 plan should await the results of those efforts.

What's under study: Further, the intergovernmental study committee looking at the possible merger of Farrell, Sharon, Hermitage, Sharpsville and Wheatland has a subcommittee studying joint sewer issues and a final Sharon plan should also await the results of that investigation, the commissioners said.

Hinkson said that Upper Shenango Valley and Hermitage commissioners question whether Sharon will be able to remove 2.2 million gallons of surface water from its own lines, although Sharon says it's already pinpointed about 500,000 gallons of infiltration and will spend about $2 million to correct that problem.




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