Stimulus Helps Fund Cresson Sewer Project to Stop Overflows

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is funding water and sewer projects that are reducing pollution, creating jobs and helping communities to address longstanding operational problems, said Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger last week.

Hanger made the remarks while touring a $3.5 million wastewater project in Cresson Borough, Cambria County that was funded in part by the Recovery Act. The project will prevent flows of raw sewage into the Conemaugh River and help bring the wastewater treatment facility into compliance with requirements of the Clean Water Act.

"Pennsylvanians must spend more than $36 billion over the next 20 years to upgrade and repair our critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping us to start funding these projects and create new jobs," Hanger said. "This project will protect public health by eliminating raw sewage overflows into the Conemaugh River, improve the operation of the Cresson Borough wastewater treatment system and create 45 new construction jobs."

The Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Cresson Borough to address raw sewage overflows at the main pumping station during times of wet weather. In April, the borough received $2.29 million in recovery funds from PENNVEST to replace nearly 20,000 linear feet of sanitary sewers to reduce the amount of stormwater entering the system.

The Cresson Borough Municipal Authority provides wastewater treatment to approximately 1,600 customers. User fees in this predominantly low-income area are expected to increase by 1 percent to cover the remaining costs to upgrade and repair the system. Work began in July and is expected to wrap up by June, 2010.

The commonwealth received approximately $220 million in Recovery Act funds this year that is being distributed to communities in the form of grants and loans through PENNVEST for drinking water and wastewater projects.

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