New Castle News

March 15, 2013

Mahoning sewers ready to connect phase two

Mary Grzebieniak
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The first households in the second phase of Mahoning Township’s sewer will be able to connect to the line soon.

Vito Yeropoli, Mahoning Township supervisor chairman, said this week that letters ordering tap-ins are going out to households on Rachel and Quaker Heights Roads, the north and south portions of Carbon Micco Road, Retort Drive and Johnson Circle.

Construction continues on phase II of the line, which serves North Edinburg, mainly running north on Pa. Route 551 to the rear of the proposed site of the racetrack and casino near U.S. Route 422. It will serve about 200 households.

Phase I includes 400 households in Hillsville and the area along U.S. Route 224.

Both phases are expected to be completely done, including restoration of grass and lawns, by mid-summer, according to Greg DelPrincipe of RAR Engineering.

Yeropoli, who is also sewer plant secretary/operator, said that 42 of 385 households on phase I still have not responded to the township’s order to tap in, a non-compliance rate that is not unusual, he noted. He added letters are being sent to those residents and if they still do not respond, they will face legal action.

He also said those who have hooked onto the sewer are maintaining a 72 percent collection rate in the first four billings, which he pointed out is better than many sewer systems.

Community development block grant money is available to households for tap-in grants based on income. Yeropoli said that 70 households on phase II of the line already have applied for those grants.

At a township meeting, residents questioned whether the $65 monthly sewer fee might be reduced in the future if the racetrack becomes a reality and if the line expands past the racetrack.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Yeropoli replied, adding many factors are in play. He said the fee had to be calculated at a rate high enough to pay the $32,400 monthly payment on the sewer debt, and cover operation and maintenance of the new sewer plant.

He said that while the city of New Castle residents pay only $22.20 monthly, they have an older system with no debt. Other municipalities with newer systems pay rates closer to Mahoning’s, he said.

Phases I and II cost $23.5 million and the township received $13.5 million in grants, leaving $10 million to be financed with a 30-year loan at one percent interest.

Prior to sewer construction, the township was being pressured by the state to build sewer lines because of an 83 percent septic failure rate.