State grant to help prepare for Dunkard Valley authority acquisition | Greene County News

Greene County has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the state’s competitive Community Development Block Grant program that will allow the Dunkard Valley Joint Municipal Authority to replace a water line on Stoney Hill Road in order to prepare for a water authority acquisition.

Replacing the line is an important part of a much large project to allow the relatively small Dunkard Valley system to be acquired by the much larger Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority.

The county applied for the grant on behalf of Monongahela Township. The money will replace a deteriorated line on Stoney Hill Road, which “has been problematic for a number of years,” township Supervisor Bill Monahan.

Though the line replacement is separate from the project to merge the systems, Monahan said, the work is important in that it will help reduce the amount of money that eventually must be requested to accommodate the merger from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, also known as PENNVEST.

“This should drive down the overall costs” for the work that must be done to complete the merger, Monahan said. Constructing a new water line to connect the two water systems and other upgrades was earlier estimated at $14 million.

Dunkard Valley serves about 500 customers in the Greensboro, Glassworks, Penn Pitt, Cabbage Flats and Mapletown areas. The system was constructed in the 1940s by the Duquesne Light Co., which operated the nearby Warwick Mine. Many of the system’s distribution lines date back to the authority’s founding, and in recent years they have been plagued by leaks.

With its small rate base, the authority has limited resources to make needed improvements without increasing rates beyond what its customers can afford.

The system has had problems for many years, county Commissioner Blair Zimmerman said. “It’s 2017 and it’s hard to believe people are still facing major issues with…

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