Whitehall-Coplay Press

Monday, June 17, 2019

Coplay Whitehall Sewer Authority OKs 2019 budget

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Rate to remain the same; capital improvements projected at $2.5 million

Coplay Whitehall Sewer Authority passed its budget for 2019 at its last meeting of 2018, held Dec. 20.

The authority is projecting income of $3.8 million. Operational expenses are totaled at $2,667,000. The remaining is for administrative expenses. Salaries and wages are $353,000, and the benefits package tops out at $402,000. Insurance expense for workers’ compensation and commercial coverage is $76,500.

The standout expenses for the operating budget are $1.25 million for wastewater treatment to Lehigh County Authority and $500,000 for debt service. Wages for operating employees amounted to $712,000, and anticipated system repairs add up to $385,000. Capital improvements for 2019 are projected at $2.5 million.

The budget passed unanimously and does not include a sanitary sewer rate increase.

John Faisetty asked the board for an updated status on the problem his son is having at his family residence. Faisetty and his son have been before the board regarding the same situation at earlier meetings. At their residence, water backs up into the basement during heavy rainstorms. After consultation with several plumbers and CWSA Engineer Darryl Jenkins, the family installed a new lateral line and large shut-off valves in the sewer line to prevent backups.

According to Faisetty, the valves are working, but it is an inconvenience to rush down to the basement and shut the valves down during a heavy rainstorm. Most of the family’s water-consuming appliances and fixtures, including the washing machine and shower, are not usable during the shutdown.

CWSA suspects South Whitehall Township lines are causing the problem. There was a meeting between the two organizations.

“In our meeting, nothing unusual was detected,” Jenkins said.

The problem could be attributed to the high amount of rainfall during the year. The latest rain gauge compilation is near 100 inches, twice the average.

Chairman John Schreiner reported the main lines in the area served the community for 30-plus years without a problem. Faisetty reported he does not know of any neighbors having a similar problem. CWSA seemed satisfied the installed valves are keeping the sewer from backing up.

The biggest capital improvement project for 2019 is bringing public sewer to Summit and Prospect streets. The million-dollar project is supported with a grant for a portion of the cost. The cost to homeowners for tapping fees and frontage fees has not been determined.

The board made a point of notifying Whitehall Township of the project. There are systems on the verge of failing, and board members did not want a homeowner to upgrade an existing on-lot system. Select members of the board will meet with Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners to finalize routes and costs. There are a couple of parcels in the area that are difficult to service. These parcels will be discussed in detail.