State funding awarded for treatment plant update

Funds are in place for the City of Warren to updates its aging wastewater treatment plant.

State Sen. Joe Scarnati announced Tuesday that $24 million has been made available through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority program.

The PENNVEST program will provide $4,508,277 as a grant and $19,491,723 is available as a low-interest loan. The city would have to pay $525,000 for the project, which is expected to carry a total cost of $24,525,000.

“This PENNVEST financing is an extremely significant investment in our region,” Scarnati said in a press release. “The project provides for crucial updates that will protect our local water supplies and public health and ensure that our streams are not polluted. I am confident that these important modernizations to the wastewater treatment plant and pump stations will strengthen local infrastructure and protect our environment.”

City of Warren Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said the treatment plant was put in place in 1956 for primary treatment with two pump stations. An addition was done in 1972 and the pump stations were given new motors and mechanical systems, bringing the 1950’s technology up to date with the 1970s.

The $19 million loan is available at a rate of one percent over 30 years, he said.

“Other than that the plant has not really had any major work or upgrades really since 1972, and really hasn’t had any work done since ’82,” when the new tanks were added, Holtz said. “The plant certainly needs upgraded just because of the equipment.”

According to Scarnati, “This extensive improvement project will bring the City of Warren into compliance with Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Act and Clean Streams Act.”

Holtz said upgrading the treatment plant is necessary because “most of the technology, the motors and the mechanical systems that are in the plant are basically early 1970s tech.”

“The other factor is the new plant and the pump stations will be able to treat the higher flows that occur during wet weather events,” he said.

The city has 30 to 45 days to accept the offer, Holtz said.