| Particular to The Instances
5 years have handed since a Instances article alerted me that my water provide in Aliquippa was in large bother. A whistleblowing board member of the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa (MWAA) revealed that the board chairman was siphoning off money and maneuvering to nominate himself supervisor with a fats wage, regardless of the very fact he was unqualified for the place. After attending a few board conferences, I discovered that the state of affairs was even worse than easy malfeasance: the MWAA was on the verge of bodily and monetary collapse.
The MWAA is an impartial public entity chartered by town, whose council appoints its 5 administrators. Administrators obtain a $100 a month stipend. After the scandal broke, many of the outdated board resigned and I volunteered to hitch the brand new one. Underneath the management of chairman Matt Mottes, we set to work.
After hiring an expert engineer as a supervisor, we rapidly started fixing our significantly dilapidated infrastructure. Between the water and sewer programs, we now have spent over $13 million to this point on water and sewer line breaks, changing damaged valves and water traces, renovating our water wells, and conducting intensive testing required by the Pennsylvania Division of Environmental Safety (PADEP).
Over the following 5 years, we determine on spending over $40 million extra. Our largest venture will probably be a brand new state-of-the-art water plant, changing the worn-out facility we inherited from the outdated Jones & Laughlin Works. When accomplished round early 2023, it should completely resolve supply water high quality points. To supply the footprint for the plant, we’re demolishing our crumbling outdated workplace and upkeep constructing, one other J&L leftover. We finance all this by floating municipal bonds, which required an preliminary stiff charge improve to qualify.
It’s a disgrace that this nation’s most important utilities–the suppliers of unpolluted water and sanitary sewers–have been so badly uncared for. That invoice has now come due. I’m grateful we nonetheless have a neighborhood paper like The Instances to focus consideration on what has for too lengthy been an out of sight out of thoughts situation.
I’m additionally proud to serve on a board and with a employees dedicated to doing proper by our fellow clients. Ought to you may have a service downside, please give the workplace a name at 724-375-5525. Acquired a query about MWAA governance? Name or textual content me at 412-996-2691. You’re additionally welcome to attend our board conferences. We meet at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
Robert Steffes is vice chairman of the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa board of administrators.