JOHNSONBURG – An emergency meeting of the Johnsonburg Municipal Authority (JMA) was held Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. in Johnsonburg. The only item on the agenda of this meeting was to authorize a new 12 “water pipe to, hopefully, resolve the persistent distribution problems in certain regions of the borough since the commissioning of the new $ 14.6 million plant several months ago.
A sometimes acrimonious meeting between JMA board members and representatives from Gwin, Dobson & Foreman Engineering (GD&F) highlighted the frustrations of the customer’s ongoing water plant. While the new water plant produces water of exceptional quality, delivery through pipelines and to customers in several areas of the city has plagued the JMA since the DEP (Department for the Protection of l ‘environment) granted the operating permit on August 13. As one member was quick to note, “Maybe we shouldn’t have turned on the factory on Friday the 13th.”
The new JMA water plant which has been built over the past two years was supposed to solve the water problems of “The Paper City”. For nearly ten years, the JMA has been subject to an approval order from the DEP concerning the water from their two old reservoirs. After detailed study and analysis, the construction of a new water plant, taking water directly from the Clarion River, was selected as the best option for Johnsonburg.
The new plant uses advanced processing techniques to control iron and manganese, disinfection byproducts, taste, odor, color, pH, organic compounds, coliform bacteria and pathogenic cysts such as cryptosporidium and giardia. The incoming Clarion water is conditioned and pretreated by flocculation, coagulation and sedimentation for oxidation, adjustment of pH / alkalinity and improvement of settling. The separation of submicron particles is achieved using microfiltration technology through the use of a cartridge membrane. The new intake building on First Avenue houses pumps, electrical controls and an intake grate cleaning system. A new gigantic water storage tank on Third Avene has been included to help with water age and entire system renewal times. While the plant itself is operating as expected, customers in many areas of the city, particularly in Dill Hill and Siver Creek, began to complain almost immediately of the lack of water and low pressure in their homes. homes and their businesses.
JMA has set up a rotating water tanker, which is replaced as needed, to supply customers in the Dill Hill area. A boil water advisory is in place for customers above the Dill Hill Reservoir, and they are asked to boil their water before consuming it. JMA is handling the Silver Creek situation with constant system adjustments. These are not viable long-term options, and JMA’s board members verbally tore Josh Gunnett, the project engineer, and his boss at GD&F Engineering, the company overseeing the new plant project. water, and Ken Cadwell, the operator of the water plant. , who had promised “that there would be no problem” in August, as JMA’s board of directors waited for the DEP’s permit to start the plant.
The solution, as proposed by JMA and approved by Cadwell, involves the installation of a new 12 “water line between the Third Avenue Reservoir and the main distribution line that follows the old route of 219. La proposal presented to council would have the work done by the current contractor Continental Construction. Two 12 “pipes, 3 x 12” valves, 2 6 “fittings and a new 12” fitting on the Third Avenue tank would be included in the price of $ 294,570 and includes materials, labor and landscaping once the work is complete. The contractor has a verbal price freeze on the cost of pipes for the project only until Wednesday, October 6, where the prices should be increased, requiring the emergency meeting on Tuesday.
While GD&F and Cadwell are confident that this will resolve many current issues with the system, “There is no guarantee that it will work at all. Said Thomas Weaver, JMA Board Member, and echoed by Dennis Asti, JMA Assistant Secretary-Treasurer.
Trying to find out how engineers even approved the plans for the new water plant without this water pipe, GD&F produced a recording from the original proposal made in 2016 where the 12 “water pipe was Between these initial plans and the start of construction in 2019, this water pipe was removed, possibly to reduce costs, but neither JMA nor GD&F can point to anyone or at any time these Original recommended lines have been removed from the plans to find out who decided to remove this section of the waterline.
Although the vast majority of the plant was paid off under a USDA loan, this new water pipe may not be eligible for the repayment of the USDA loan, as a USDA decision on the matter is expected to be made. 60 to 90 days. Al Joe Maletto, president of Johnsonburg Borough Council, suggested buying the pipe now, costing around $ 61,000, and waiting for USDA to clear construction at a later date. While this suggestion was taken into consideration, James Reinsburrow, JMA President, requested a first motion to authorize the full $ 294,570 first. Due to past spending for other items, such as a new tanker and tools, the “emergency” money remaining in USDA loan funding is only $ 279,478, resulting in a shortfall of just over $ 15,000, which will have to be absorbed by the JMA.
Several JMA clients were in attendance at the meeting and expressed dismay at the whole process, noting that the $ 14.6 million costs will eventually have to be paid for by clients who are still not receiving the level of service that should be a basic standard. Many expressed disappointment with board members and anger at the engineering firms who approved the plans. “How much money do these engineers change for services that have not been rendered?” JMA’s clients and board members shared this sentiment.
Reinsburrow, along with board member Charles Destephano, said: “We have to do this to make sure our customers are taken care of.” Earl Park, JMA Vice President, and Kenneth Polaski, JMA Secretary, agreed with this sentiment and supported the proposal. CMA Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Asti. and board member Thomas Weaver voted against the proposal, both indicating that they had lost confidence both with JHA represented by engineer Travis Long who was absent from the meeting, and with GD&F. By four votes to two, the proposal to spend the $ 294,570 to install the new water line was approved.
We hope that continental construction will start on the project soon, but it may take up to a month. As winter approached, Council members expressed concern about the project being postponed until the spring, but no other option arose. The JMA wants to assure all customers that their commitment remains the same, to bring high quality water to all residents of the area and that customers should be attentive to telephone and mail notices as well as notices. boil on JMA’s website at johnsonburgmunicipalauthority .com.
The next JMA meeting is scheduled for October 13, starting at 4 p.m. at the main office on Market Street. The public is invited to attend,