The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

March 5, 2010

Danville sewer rates expected to double

DANVILLE — With the 60-year-old Danville sewage treatment plant mandated for $36 million-plus in improvements, borough residents can expect to see their rates more than double as early as July 1.

Rate payers will have to make up about $30 million toward the cost of reducing nitrogen and phosphorus discharged by the plant as imposed by state and federal regulatory agencies in an effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, said Ron Jager, vice president of water and wastewater practice with Gannett Fleming, the Danville Municipal Authority’s engineer, during a press conference Thursday afternoon in the municipal building.

The Danville plant also must meet building and safety codes, he said.

Danville in Phase 1

One of the larger plants in Pennsylvania, the Danville plant is part of the Phase 1 mandate aimed at improving commercial fishing in the bay.

The rate increase in Danville, which would probably go into effect July 1, would be the second increase since 2009. The quarterly rate for a single-family home went up 90 percent, from $23.70 to $45 as of July 1, 2009.

Riverside borough, which uses the Danville system, already has started increasing its rates due to the planned plant upgrades. Those residents can expect to pay $20 more per quarter in their next billing.

Last summer, the Mahoning Township Municipal Authority filed suit against Danville borough for increasing quarterly sewer rates, saying it breached a contract that required negotiation for additional costs.

No guaranteed rates

Authority solicitor Michael Dennehy said there is no guarantee rates in Danville, Riverside and Mahoning Township would be the same because different municipalities are involved.

“Danville borough’s sewer rates historically have been low if not the lowest in the state,” Jager said.

The borough was able to keep rates low for 40 years because it took advantage of the Construction Grants Program and “because we have limited other improvements to the plant to those necessary to replace equipment that had exceeded its useful life,” Jager said.

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