The Bradford City Water Authority is one step closer to protecting its customers from a water crisis like the one the Tuna Valley experienced in early 2015.
State Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, and state Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway, announced Wednesday that the Bradford City Water Authority has been awarded an $11.5 million low-interest loan to build a second transmission main between the water treatment plant out West Corydon Street and Reservoir No. 4.
The loan is from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).
According to a press release from Causer and Scarnati, the new 24-inch main will be a PVC waterline about 35,000 feet long.
“We’re so excited to announce this new project,” said Steve Disney, water authority executive director, noting “We know it’s vital for our community.”
The solitary transmission that currently serves authority customers is like a “single umbilical cord to the whole system. Once that’s severed, you’ve got 18,000 customers with no water,” said Disney.
That is what happened in February 2015, when changing weather caused the water transmission main to break — and caused the loss of 5 million gallons of water. This left customers in Bradford City without water for five days, and some customers in the valley without water for even longer. A state of emergency was called.
“This is a much-needed investment to ensure the people of Bradford and surrounding communities who are served by the city authority continue to have a safe and reliable water supply,” Causer said. “I commend the authority for pursuing this vital improvement to its infrastructure.”
Disney talked about the next steps in the project.
PENNVEST will send the authority documents associated with the decision and the loan, and the board and engineering firm will review the documents, and prepare and submit paperwork.
Disney said it will probably be late August or early September when the project goes out to bid. He said the authority hopes to award the contract and give notice that the contractor can proceed in late fall with any part of the project that can be done.
Any work that is done in 2019 will be weather dependent he said, “knowing how winter can set in on us pretty quickly.” It will be closer to spring before they “get into the project in depth.”
The goal is to install an additional transmission line that will be redundant to the old main. Then, the authority will repair the existing main.
The existing main was installed in 1955, according to the lawmakers’ press release.
The $11.5 million loan will be used for the first part: installing the new line. That part of the project will be bid out as two phases that will be completed simultaneously.
“Once the new main is installed, then we’ll go back to PENNVEST for additional funding to rehab the existing main,” Disney explained.
“Water systems are extremely vital to the health of a community, but very expensive to build and maintain,” Scarnati said. “I’m very pleased that this assistance was approved by PENNVEST and will provide support for improvements for the Bradford City Water Authority. The funding will certainly be a crucial part of helping to safeguard our local water supplies and protect public health.”
With the installation of the new main, residents on Crooker House and Lang Maid lanes who live along the line route will be able to connect to the system.
The proposed route for a second main would be to go from the plant down West Corydon Street, across Crooker House Lane, along Lang Maid Lane, down West Washington Street to Poplin Avenue, along a water line right of way to Brook Street, across Interstate Parkway and Abbott and Prospect streets to connections for the 14-inch and 24-inch mains at Reservoir #4.