On time and on budget.
That was among key messages conveyed at a ceremony this week to mark completion of a public system that provides services most people take for granted: Sanitary sewage treatment.
The Gregg Township Municipal Authority (GTMA) has invested millions in state funds over the last dozen years or so to upgrade the sanitary sewage treatment plant off Route 15 and related piping.
The system serves more than 200 individual customers, a dozen commercial properties and the Allenwood Federal Prison — all in northern Union and southern Lycoming counties.
Since 2009, more than $6 million in state funds have gone toward the plant.
“The plant here is really a state-of-the art plant,” Bryan Salzmann, of Salzmann Hughes, P.C., a law firm which has worked with GTMA to secure grant funding.
Plant Manager Jason Koch noted that all of the needed upgrades backed by state grants were completed on time.
State Rep. Joe Hamm, R-Hepburn Township, said infrastructure projects go a long way toward spurring economic development and that’s the case here.
As an example, he noted the Route 15 corridor south of the landfill.
Among the sewage treatment system improvements of recent years have been sewer line expansion and upgrades to various infrastructure, an energy efficiency improvement project, and additions of sludge and press equipment.
“We started to take leachate from the landfill a year ago,” Koch said. “It’s conveyed to the pump station on Fritz Station Road in Lycoming County.”
It used to be a federal facility on federal land.
The late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter convinced the federal government to convey the property for $1 and the authority was born.
In regard to the state investments, Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock, made it clear that government money is surely limited, but a project is not likely to be funded unless a request is made for it.
Too often, people go out “on their own” when deciding to do projects in their communities, he told those at the recognition event Wednesday.
GTMA, he said, has been receiving funding for expansion and upgrades because its board works in cooperation with municipal and state officials for needed dollars, Yaw noted.
Yaw said with so many organizations and municipalities in need of funding, there is a competitive aspect for securing grants, and rural areas experiencing dwindling populations and tax bases can be at a disadvantage in seeing that money.
“Everything we do is based on population,” he said.
Still, the grants are there for projects that can demonstrate a need and benefit to a community.
“It’s there. It’s a source. It’s available,” he said.
The authority board consists of James Carey, chairman; Claude (Sam) Astin, vice chair; Frank Miller; Ricky Campbell and Paul Campbell, along with Secretary Peggy Hiller.
Carey said the upgrades have been a long-time coming and the authority is grateful for the help of lawmakers and the state investments.