- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The Fayette County Township Supervisors Association is concerned about ramifications that might occur if the North Fayette County Municipal Authority opts to close its 120-year-old water plant and then purchase water from the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

Some members of the township association are expected to attend today’s authority meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. at its offices in Dunbar Township.

“We don’t think it is a good idea,” said Jim Means, president of the Fayette County Township Supervisors Association and a Wharton Township supervisor.

According to Bob Softcheck, authority manager, the authority continues to study the pros and cons of building a new plant or purchasing water from Westmoreland County. The subject may be discussed Tuesday (today), he said.

“Once they sell it, it’s gone. That would put Fayette County residents at Westmoreland County’s mercy,” Means said. “At least, as it stands now, there is room to grow.”

The authority has directed Richard Barnett, engineer with Senate Engineering Co., to conduct a comprehensive study to determine if building a new plant or buying water from MAWC is the better option. The study is to cost no more than $18,800. The study could be done in August.

Barnett said his company will compare capital costs, impact to user rates and costs to operations and maintenance in the long-term on both options.

Authority chairman Philip Mahoney said the board is not making any decisions anytime soon. He said it was just in the discussion phase.

Pat Trimbath, an authority member, doesn’t want the plant to close.

Trimbath said the current plant has always equaled or exceeded Department of Environmental Protection standards for water quality.

He said the authority began plans to build a new plant more than a year ago and did a design phase.

Trimbath said he does not like the idea of spending money with an authority that is outside the county. He wants the money to be spent in Fayette County.

The base rate for residential authority customers is $8, plus $4.40 per 1,000 gallons up to 1 million gallons, Trimbath said.

The North Fayette County Municipal Authority serves parts of or all of 20 municipalities in Fayette County, according to Softcheck. These include portions of the City of Connellsville and City of Uniontown (just a handful of customers in each), Connellsville Township, Dunbar, Dunbar Township, Lower Tyrone, Vanderbilt, Dawson, Franklin, Perryopolis, Perry Township, Redstone, Menallen, Smithfield, Georges, Springhill, Nicholson, South Union and North Union.

There are about 15,000 connections to the water service, providing water to a population of 35,000.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or 724-626-3538.

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