First Posted: 7/16/2013
Pennsylvania American Water will being replacing more than 11,200 feet of aging water main pipes in Pittston and West Pittston next week.
Starting the week of July 29, crews will install new eight-inch ductile-iron pipe along streets in Pittston, replacing existing four- and six-inch cast-iron that dates as far back as the 1920s. The street involved are Dock Street, Water Street, New Street, West Street, River Street and Morgan Lane.
Additionally, 2,800 feet of new pipe will be installed along Ann and Elm streets in West Pittston.
The project also involves replacing four fire hydrants in Pittston and West Pittston.
The combined cost of the projects is approximately $1.3 million, according to a release.
The purpose for the upgrade is threefold: to improve reliability for customers, to reduce service disruptions and increase water flows for firefighting.
Pittston City administrator Joe Moskovitz welcomes the projects, not only because they will improve water service to residents, but the company will pave the streets when the projects are finished.
“Those are streets the city now doesn’t have to worry about paving,” he said.
Last year, the water main on Church Street was replaced and the road was repaved.
Construction will take place between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The company expects to complete the water main installation, including transfer of all customer services and final paving restoration, by the end of September.
Anthony Gangemi, superintendent of field services for Pennsylvania American Water, said the company wants to continue to provide reliable water service to customers.
“…(W)e need to reinvest in the local water infrastructure, particularly the areas where nearly 100-year old pipeline needs to be replaced,” he said.
During construction, customers might experience temporary service interruptions, discolored water and/or lower than normal water pressure.
Crews will work as quickly as possible to shorten the length of these temporary inconveniences.
The water company is also spending $1.35 million in Pittston Township constructing a massive water tank and rehabilitating another. The million-gallon steel tank, being constructed near the company’s Nesbitt Water Treatment Plant near the Nesbitt Reservoir along state Route 502, is expected to be completed by year’s end.
An existing 250,000-gallon capacity tank in the Grimes Industrial Park in Pittston Township will be one of 14 the company will rehabilitate this year at a cost of $150,000. There are two tanks in that industrial park and the first one was rehabilitated last year.
The state’s Public Utility Commission has scheduled seven public hearings statewide over the next few weeks to take testimony regarding a proposed rate increase for Pennsylvania American Water customers.
One of the hearings will take place Aug. 6 in Scranton. If approved it would be the second rate increase since the start of 2011.
The PUC scheduled the hearings a month after it voted 5-0 on June 13 to investigate the company’s request, which proposes an annual increase in revenues of $58.8 million, or 10.1 percent. Locally, those using what’s referred to as the company’s Main Division, would see their bill increase from 11.7 percent on average. For the typical residential customer using 47,520 gallons annually the bill would increase from $630.12 to $703.56 annually if the commission approves the request as is.
Administrative Law Judges Angela T. Jones and Darlene D. Heep will conduct the Scranton hearing that will take place at 1 p.m. in Room B3 of the Scranton State Office, 100 Lackawanna Avenue.
Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, is the largest water utility in the state, providing water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.2 million people.