CLEARFIELD – Clearfield Borough Council heard details about the proposed construction of a new sewage treatment plant from its Engineer Todd Banks of Stiffler McGraw & Associates of Hollidaysburg before approving the Clearfield Municipal Authority (CMA) 537 plan, which calls for these upgrades during Thursday night’s regular meeting.
Banks said the current sewage treatment plant is 50 years old and unable to meet the changing environmental requirements. If constructed, he said the new plant would cost $33 million.
According to him, the CMA currently has $4 million toward the construction of the new plant. He said the CMA is attempting to obtain as much of the $20 million maximum funding available through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.
However, if a new sewage treatment plant isn’t constructed, he said it would lead to costly fines from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In addition, he said it would leave the community with an aging plant that is nearing the end of its expected lifespan.
Banks also said by not constructing the new plant, the CMA would have to purchase nitrogen credits. These credits would offset the nitrogen that the plant is required to remove from the water, but that it’s currently unable to. This would cost CMA customers around $10 per month, or $30 per quarterly billing period.
He was neither able to estimate the totality of the potential fines from the DEP nor if the CMA could purchase nitrogen credits indefinitely. However, he said the new plant could treat around 4.5 million gallons of sewage daily and handle a peak influx of storm water of up to 25 million gallons.
According to him, the current plant only treats around 2.6 million gallons of sewage. If the new plant would be constructed, he said the CMA customers would still see a billing increase. In a best case scenario, he said the minimum amount would be $18 per month, or $54 per quarterly bill.
Council members James Kling and Tim Winters expressed concerns about constructing a new sewage treatment plant that has such a large peak storm water capacity. They said $27 million had been spent renovating the storm water drainage lines within the community.
While the council was in executive session, Banks answered questions regarding the maximum projected bill increase to be incurred by residents if the new plant would be constructed. Under the worst case scenario, he said they would see increases of $37 per month, or $111 per quarterly bill.
He added that 90 – 95 percent of the new sewage treatment plant’s cost was its construction to treat 4.5 million gallons of sewage. He said the peak capacity of 25 million gallons was largely bypassed piping and storage compared to the rest of the plant.
After the executive session, the council voted to accept Clearfield Borough Police Officer Brian Dixon’s letter of resignation.