Top Pennsylvania DEP Official Says Clean Water Referendum Will Help Repair Aging Water, Sewer Systems

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Municipal Water Systems Statewide Could Benefit From Referendum

    NORRISTOWN, Pa., Oct. 24 /-USNewswire/ -- Voters can choose to support an investment on Election Day that will provide safer, more dependable drinking water, while supporting 12,000 new Pennsylvania jobs, Department of Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger said today.

    "On Nov. 4, voters will see a complex question on their ballot that's really quite simple: will you support a $400 million investment to clean up Pennsylvania's waterways and provide safer, more dependable drinking water and sewer services," said Hanger while visiting a construction site in East Norriton, where Pennsylvania American Water Company is replacing more than 1,400 feet of aging water pipes. "This referendum is an opportunity for voters to approve a much needed investment in our communities that are facing costly improvements to their deteriorating water and wastewater systems.

    "If approved, these new resources will help Pennsylvania provide for the safety, health and welfare of its families, businesses and industry by improving our infrastructure. These are critical projects that could put approximately 12,000 people to work making repairs and upgrades that are needed to strengthen our economy," said Hanger.

    Voter approval of the Clean Water Referendum bond issue will serve as a down payment toward fixing Pennsylvania's deteriorating pipes and sewer lines.

    A recent study by the 30-member Sustainable Infrastructure Task Force, convened by Governor Edward G. Rendell, estimates that drinking water and wastewater systems statewide need at least $36.5 billion over the next 20 years to maintain reliable service. The task force -- a group of business leaders, legislators, government officials and industry experts -- found that every county in the commonwealth is facing significant water infrastructure needs.

    The $400 million up for consideration through the referendum would be used for grants by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, or PENNVEST, to upgrade or repair drinking water systems and wastewater treatment system projects in every region of the state.

    Grants awarded would range from $2 million to $20 million, depending on the size of the drinking water or sewage treatment system.

    In addition, the 183 publicly owned water systems facing federal mandates to reduce nutrient pollution in the Susquehanna and Potomac river basins and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay, would be eligible for support under this referendum

    For more information, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Drinking Water.

    EDITORS NOTE: The following projects in southeastern Pennsylvania could benefit from the resources under consideration through the Nov. 4 Clean Water Referendum:

    Prospect Park Borough, Delaware County:

    During heavy rains or periods when ground water is high, the borough's aging sanitary sewer collection system can become overloaded, causing untreated sewage to overflow, which threatens public health and safety. In addition, borough residents are paying to treat large volumes of water that do not require sanitary treatment. The cost to repair the system is estimated to be $7.6 million.

    North Wales Township, Montgomery County

    The system's drinking water storage facilities and water mains need to be replaced. If this is not done, the deteriorating water distribution lines could allow surface water and pollutants to mix with drinking water --leading users to pay higher costs for disinfecting drinking water and replacing the treated water that is lost due to leaks.

    Falls Township, Bucks County

    One of this system's four water storage tanks and must be replaced due to age deterioration at an estimated cost of $1.26 million. If the tank should fail, a water shortage could ensue and pollutants could enter the drinking water system.

    CONTACT: Teresa Candori

    717-783-9952
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