Greencastle to upgrade sewer plant to DEP specifications

PAT FRIDGEN

Greencastle borough officials approved a professional services contract with Gannett Fleming Inc. Monday night, after bristling at the administrative fee. While construction costs were down for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant, the fee remained a constant 15.2 percent.

Gannett Fleming representative Mark Pickering defended the expense, stating the work required for engineering did not change based on the economy.

The council voted to pay up to $133,978 to bring the plant into compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulations to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous discharge.

As part of the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy, PADEP set discharge limits in 2006. Gannett Fleming determined Greencastle needed two chemical storage tanks with three feed pumps each, and a pre-engineered masonry building to house them. The estimated cost for those was $882,100.

Borough manager Kenneth Womack reported that the project cost jumped with the switch to a masonry rather than pre-engineered building, and potential electrical upgrades and other site improvements. However, the sewer fund had the money to cover it. The plant renovation had to be completed by September 2012.

Council president Charles Eckstine told Pickering that Greencastle had been a good, longtime customer and he felt at times Gannett Fleming "gouged" them on fees. Womack stated they had already discussed fees and he pulled some tasks from the plan to be conducted by office staff at a savings. Pickering said if his expenses came in lower, Greencastle would not pay the full amount quoted.

Council members discussed various ways Antrim Township could assist the borough, with the top priority some financial contribution to the improvements coming for the Route 16/U.S. 11 intersection. They acknowledged Antrim was willing, but needed to find the legal outlet to do so. The members present, Eckstine, Duane Kinzer, Matt Smith, Harry Foley and Paul Schemel, also agreed that it would be nice if Antrim provided some reimbursement for Greencastle police services into the township.

Schemel believed it was the right thing to do, as a good citizen, to send officers to township-related incidents when requested to do so by Pennsylvania State Police. Police chief John Phillippy had a list of 32 events that his department responded to in 2010, some of which Eckstine labeled "of a serious nature". He was not ashamed to ask for help, as Greencastle shouldered the financial burden of addressing the 911 calls.

Smith supported the need. "We deserve some sort of compensation for the risk we put our officers in." Council tabled any action on that.

In other business, the council would like to fill the two vacant seats on Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority. Eckstine said it had been difficult to operate with just three people, since if one was absent a quorum was not achieved. With the purchase of the Antrim Township Municipal Authority water system at a standstill, GAFCWA asked that the roster of five be completed.

Qualified persons are invited to apply. They may live in Greencastle or Antrim Township, as long as they are GAFCWA customers. Womack asked that the interested people have a business or engineering background.