by Jonathan Weaver
Construction of a new Manor Township water treatment plant is to begin this summer.
Engineering officials with Black and Veatch Corporation – with its closest office in Pittsburgh – met with Manor Township Joint Municipal Authority members before their first meeting of 2015 to discuss the new plant.
Project Manager George Robinson said officials started working on designs just weeks after securing the contract.
“We’ve been working on the designs since January 2014,” Robinson said. “This project is very innovative that we’re implementing the pellet softening technology – it’ll be one of the first in the state of Pennsylvania, and Black and Veatch is proud to be working along with Manor Township on this endeavor.”
Client Director Dianne Sumego, who primarily works at the Akron (Ohio) location, explained the pellet softening process – popular in Europe, but currently at less than a dozen facilities around the United States – will help remove brine before discharge in the Allegheny River.
“Manor Township is willing to take a chance and take an opportunity to look at this technology that’s been brought back,” Sumego said.
Senior Engineering Manager Larry Gaddis, from the Columbus (Ohio) office, said the process is “ideal.”
“Based on the characteristics of the water here and what you need to do to treat it, it is an ideal system for the water qualities locally,” Gaddis said. “And there will no longer be a brine discharge to the river – very much one of the motivating factors to build a new facility.
“Water design is the original area Black and Veatch started in as a company, so we consider it an expertise,” Gaddis said. “It’s our bread and butter – what we’ve done from the very beginning.”
A century-old company in 2015, the global company – headquartered in Kansas – has more than 100 offices around the world.
The existing plant along 17th Street in McGrann – adjacent to the Ford City Wastewater Treatment Plant – was built in the 1950’s and is beyond its useful life, Water Authority Manager April Winklmann said last year.
Authority members unanimously approved a $1,382 invoice from Black and Veatch for design and engineering services, and received the confidence of authority members.
“It’s a high-visibility project, and I want to make sure every ‘I’ is dotted and every ‘t’ crossed,” Manor Township Representative Jacqueline Smith said. “I’m confident we did our due diligence.”
Authority members are to arrange a further presentation with Senator Don White – a member of the PennVEST Board of Directors who approved a loan for the project -and State Representative Jeff Pyle.
In 2013, the municipal authority submitted four grant applications for system improvements – including for the construction of the 300,000 gallon capacity water tank to serve Manor, Rayburn and portions of Bethel and Valley Townships and Manorville and Ford Cliff Boroughs
The projected $7.4 million project is projected to go out for bid at the end of June with construction proceeding in August
Future meetings will continue to be chaired by Grant Kanish, and held at 6:30PM the third Wednesday of each month at the offices along Pleasantview Drive in Manor Township.
According to Manager April Winklmann, there were more than 2,860 water customers in 2013, and the new treatment plant will have the capacity to service more customers.