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Grant lets ATMA expand water treatment capacity

May 01, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell approved a grant in April that will allow the Antrim Township Municipal Authority (ATMA) to expand its water treatment capacity.

The $1.25 million state grant encouraged the township to sell its water system to the Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority (GAFCWA) on April 13 and open the door to more development at Exit 3 of Interstate 81, officials said.

State Sen. Richard Alloway II, R-Franklin/Adams/York, helped secure the grant for the township by working directly with Rendell, his office said.

Representatives from the borough and township authorities together with the Franklin County Area Development Corp. (FCADC) applied for the grant, said L. Michael Ross, president of the FCADC.

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Ross said the grant was the catalyst for the sale of the Antrim Township water system because financed upgrades were needed before the GAFCWA physically could merge the township system with the borough system.

The grant application was to increase daily capacity at the ATMA plant from 160,000 gallons per day to its permitted capacity of more than 800,000 gallons per day by improving filtration.

With two major commercial developments, Atapaco and Century properties, proposed near Exit 3 in Antrim Township, future water service in the area became a concern, Township Administrator Brad Graham said.

The Borough of Greencastle serves more water customers than the township and is permitted for more capacity, Borough Manager Ken Womack said at a joint meeting of area authorities in April.

The borough serves 1,700 borough residents and 455 township residents with a capacity of 1.6 million gallons per day, Womack said. ATMA member Bob Schemmerling said the township serves 340 residents with its current 160,000-gallon-per-day capacity.

Alloway praised the merger, saying "this will unlock all of the commercial potential over there." But Robert Miller, vice chairman of the GAFCWA, cautioned local officials on April 13 not to rely on the unified water system as the answer to commercial growth.

"We support development, we do not create it," Miller said of the municipal authority.

Two proposed commercial developments have the potential to be large water users, and Graham said the grant is the first step toward one day connecting water flow between the borough and the township.

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