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Pine Creek wastewater treatment facility in McCandless expanding

In early March of 2022, the McCandless Township Sanitary Authority broke ground for a facility upgrade at its Pine Creek WWTP on Wildwood Road just outside of North Park in Allegheny County. This treatment facility serves all or parts of the following communities: McCandless, Franklin Park Borough, Pine Township, Bradford Woods Borough, Marshall Township, and Hampton Township. Currently, this facility serves a population of slightly over 32,500 residents, has an average flow of 3,850,000 gallons per day of wastewater through the permitted six million gallon per day treatment plant. This current project will be Phase One of a three phase upgrade and enhancement program under the Authority’s Long Term Planning Program. This first phase will improve the quality of the wastewater treatment (organic loading) and prepare for future discharge permit requirements by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Agency for both total nitrogen and total phosphorus removal. This will require the construction of additional state of the art treatment facilities utilizing the “Bardenpho Process,” which is a multi-phased treatment process utilizing both aerobic and anoxic periods to breakdown the bio-mass material. Additionally, the four existing clarifiers will be re-constructed to promote better settling characteristics and improve the clarity of the facility discharge water (effluent). A final and vital component of this upgrade is the elimination of the use of gas fed chlorine. The Authority is undertaking the installation of an ultraviolet disinfection system at a cost of slightly over 1.5 million dollars. By eliminating the use of chlorine, the Authority will be taking this chemical and its byproducts out of the receiving streams and eliminate the possible human hazards associated with the use of chlorine. While Phase One does not increase the permitted flow above the current six million gallon per day capacity, it does provide improved organic treatment capabilities and improved discharge water quality. In recent years, the organic loadings at treatment facilities across the country have increased, while flows have remained lower due to the many water conserving measures used in homes today. Phase Two, which will increase the permitted flow to 7.5 million gallons per day, will start in conjunction with future residential and commercial development in the service area. Currently, it is anticipated that this need will occur in five to ten years after the completion of phase one. Phase one is designed with this in mind and many of the requirements to seamlessly move into Phase Two have been incorporated into this current project. The cost of the phase one project is slightly over $20,000,000 and is being funded through a bond issue that closed this past January and using four million dollars from the authority’s capital reserve fund. The debt service associated with this bond issuance and other current economic conditions required a rate increase to MTSA rate payers of 6% in 2022.  This equates to an average increase of $25.00 per year per customer. This Authority strives to be a “cost effective and environmentally conscious organization” and the hope is that the information provided here will help solidify that fact.