Nearly $3.25 million in state funds announced this week will cover nearly half the projected cost of a long-needed sewer line replacement through much of the city.
State Rep. Bryan Barbin announced a $2.75 million PennWorks grant and $499,375 low-interest state loan for the Johntown Redevelopment Authority. Funds are directed to installation of a new main sewer interceptor from Hornerstown into downtown Johnstown, and more replacement work in the Moxham section.
“These funds are another great example of how public-private partnerships are working in Johnstown to enhance its reach as a regional job creator and statewide economy driver,” said Barbin, D-Johnstown.
“Any time we see this level of commitment from a group as powerful as PennWorks, we know our region and city is doing something right.”
The current 33-inch line from Messenger Street near Horner Street to the intersection of Vine and Franklin streets downtown will be replaced with a new 36-inch line, said Steve Sewalk of The EADS Group, the authority’s engineers.
“This was one project that we had to do no matter what because of the poor condition of the pipe,” Sewalk said. “It is one of the larger components of the system.”
The existing line along Bell Alley through Hornerstown was installed in the 1920s or even earlier, he said. It is 20 feet or more below the pavement on Vine Street. Parts of it have a “negative grade,” Sewalk said, explaining that the sewer line runs slightly uphill.
Another main line behind the former U.S. Steel plant in Moxham will upgrade service for North American Hoganas and other businesses.
The project is part of the authority’s ongoing work to upgrade the Johnstown Regional Sewage system and reduce stormwater inflow to meet state requirements.
But the grant application was crafted to get PennWorks’ attention by highlighting the benefit for manufacturing businesses in the Moxham, Hornerstown and Richland Township industrial areas, said William G. Barbin, the authority’s solicitor.
Businesses identified on the grant application included North American Hoganas at 101 Bridge St., U.S. Alternative Fuels Corp. at 432-438 Horner St., and Pepsi Beverages Co. – Laurel Packaging at 429 Industrial Park Road in Richland.
Randy Griffith covers health care for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/photogriffer57.