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Costly sewer upgrade in store for Waynesboro

August 26, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With $1.2 billion in state funding available for sewer and water projects, the Chambersburg Borough Council voted Monday to hire the law firm of Salzmann Hughes as special counsel to try to get up to $20 million for an upgrade and expansion of its sewage treatment plant.

The borough is in the process of drafting a plan for expansion of the plant to both reduce the release of nitrates and phosphorous and increase capacity. Borough Manager Eric Oyer said the expansion could cost upwards of $40 million.

"Anyone wanting to upgrade their wastewater treatment system is going to be lining up for a crack at this money," Council President William McLaughlin said. "The time to make an application is now."

The cost of that project would be shared with Greene, Guilford and Hamilton townships which share the treatment plant, Oyer said. Those three municipalities likely will be responsible for about 60 percent of the project, he said.

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The final cost of the project and the share to be paid by the parties will not be determined until the study is completed and there is a new intermunicipal agreement, Oyer said.

Salzmann Hughes will be paid $140 an hour for legal services, plus an additional $70 per hour for any required paralegal services, Oyer told the council.

The reduction in nitrate and phosphorous levels is required under federal legislation and Pennsylvania's Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy to improve the bay's water quality, Oyer said. Increased capacity also is needed to allow for continued growth and to forestall a repeat of last year, when the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection temporarily suspended the issuance of sewer connection permits in the four municipalities.

Salzmann Hughes assisted the borough in reaching the consent decree with DEP last fall, Oyer said.

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