TOWANDA BOROUGH — Twenty-three years after the original plan was set in motion, the Towanda Municipal Authority’s New Source Water and System Improvements Project is now a reality.
Originally planned in 1996 when the TMA completed a public works facilities plan, the new treatment facility will bring new water system infrastructure, replace existing deteriorating infrastructure and increase water withdrawal to better serve the needs of areas surrounding the six-municipality span of the Municipal Authority’s service area including Towanda Borough, Monroe Borough, and portions of Albany Township, Monroe Township, North Towanda Township and Towanda Township.
“The plan has been instrumental in modernizing and being able to have the capacity to accommodate the extensions we have done so far and if need be, do in the future,” Towanda Borough Manager Kyle Lane said in the Authority’s public meeting on Monday evening.
“It wouldn’t have happened if the plan was not set in place,” he added.
The plan identified the need for at least a 300 gallon per minute well and more if extensions in Wysox and Towanda were needed. Since the plan was developed in 1996 those extensions and more have taken place.
Over the 23 years that preceded the groundbreaking for the project on Friday, 55 test wells were drilled to find a suitable spot for the new water source. Eventually the best well was found near where the project was originally proposed in North Towanda.
“It seems to be where the water lays,” Lane remarked in the meeting, noting, in layman’s terms, that an ancient glacier melted in the area depositing gravel underground that acts as a natural filter for the new water source.
The multi-million dollar project will create new water supply sources made up of two new 700 gallon per minute water supply wells, one new 300 gallon per minute water supply well, a new 1.0 million gallons per day membrane filtration water treatment plant, approximately 5,800 linear feet of 12-inch raw water line and 1,700 linear feet of 8-inch raw water line as well as constructing a 107,000 gallon water storage tank, rehabilitating and upgrading a water booster pump station on McEwen Road and replacing and extending approximately 6,780 linear feet of 8-inch water main.
The project also does not come at a substantial cost to the authority as a good portion of it is being paid for via a $3,000,000 grant from the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Agency, and a $500,000 Infrastructure Grant from the Bradford County Impact Fee. A total of $3,600,000 in local matching funds and a $4,300,000 PennVest loan will pay for the rest of the project.
“This will be our water source for the next 100 years,” TMA Vice Chairman Paul Sweitzer said after the meeting.
The project comes on the heels of two other multi-million dollar infrastructure projects in Towanda over the past 12 years — the creation of the Merrill Parkway and the Towanda sewage treatment plant. Both of which the borough considers to be major successes.
The water treatment facility will be located on a mostly undeveloped 15-acre parcel with an existing access off of James Street in North Towanda. The plant will be a 1.9 million gallon per day facility and include office and lab space, a boiler room, an emergency generator, pumps and controls, and a variety of ancillary equipment.
Lane thanked Stiffler-McGraw Engineers Surveyors Architects, the United States Department of Commerce, Lauren Egleston of Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission, the Bradford County Commissioners, Chris Brown of the Central Bradford Progress Authority, State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) and State Rep Tina Pickett (R-110) for the work they put into making the project a reality.
“Without their support the project would not have come to fruition,” Lane said.
The project is to be completed in August of 2020.