Grant declined

Emsworth Borough is declining to accept an ALCOSAN grant due to the large amount of money the borough would have to contribute.

Emsworth applied for a grant to cover most of the $227,289 cost of improvements to lessen the amount of storm water entering the sewage system. In the grant application, Emsworth had anticipated ALCOSAN would pay 85 percent of the project with the borough paying the 15 percent remainder of $34,093.

ALCOSAN did offer a grant, but the percentages were vastly different from Emsworth’s goal. Instead of covering 85 percent of the cost of the project, ALCOSAN offered a maximum of about 37 percent.

If the borough accepted the grant, the amount Emsworth would be required to pay would be a minimum of $143,189. ALCOSAN would cover between 85 and 100 percent of the remaining $84,100, depending on the success of the finished project in reducing the amount of storm water entering the system. Thus, if the grant were accepted, Emsworth would be financially responsible for paying at least $143,189, but possibly as much as $155,804.

The scope of the project was to line a number of segments that allow storm water to enter the sewer system through cracks or joints. Additionally, some manhole lids, as well a number of brick manholes, would be entirely replaced because oftentimes manholes leak groundwater between the mortar joints of structure walls, according to Gateway engineer Dennis Flynn.

At the March 8 Emsworth Council meeting, council members voted unanimously to send a letter to ALCOSAN respectfully declining acceptance of the grant. Member Jason Helfrich was absent.

Flynn said that ALCOSAN was offering a second round of grants, with applications due by the end of March, intended to help municipalities continue reducing storm water infiltrations. He suggested that Emsworth could submit a new grant application with additional data and with other changes in hopes of lessening the total cost of the project and/or increasing the percentage of grant money received. However, no council member offered a motion to do so.