The ARWA Staff, Board and professional consultants have been proactive and prudent in managing the cost and financing of their significant upgrade project in order to mitigate the downstream costs for rate payers.

Although our environment will benefit, the project cost estimate is $34 million.  If simply financed over typical municipal payback terms, the long term cost, with interst, could be much higher.

A plan to control project debt was an ARWA priority.  One key factor in lowering costs was the willingness of the member municipalities to voluntary collect a slightly higher user fee and pass it on to ARWA.  This allowed ARWA to pay project planning costs as they occured and avoid the need to roll these costs into long term project financing.  It also had the added benefit of incremental increases in user rates over a three year period, avoiding one large jump in rates when plant construction financing was secured. ARWA also instituted a Tapping Fee that will allow it to recover a portion of the communities past investment when future development adds new users to the system.

To finance the project ARWA applied for and was awarded a $1 million H2O PA state grant, and a $9.7 million PennVest low interest loan.  After careful consideration of all financing options it was determined that using two tax free loans through a coalition of local banks provided the most cost savings to finance the remainder of the project.  The financing package along with competitive contractor bidding has reduced the overall project cost from 34M to 29M.

Our engineering team selected cost effective design options that will conserve funds both in construction and long term operations.  The existing tanks will be modified and retrofitted to incorporate a state of the art Biological Nutrient Reduction process and provide sufficient hydraulic capacity.  Equipment that has reached the end of its service life will be replaced with energy efficient equipment.  The use of green technologies such as LED lighting throughout the design will further reduce long term energy consumption.

The chart below breaks down the estimated cost of the wastewater treatment plant upgrade.  The largest share of the investment, shown in green, is necessary to meet new federal requirements to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the treated water that is discharged into Leggetts Creek.

Where Money Will Be Spent