Monroeville, Plum get 40-year water deal

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The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County has approved an agreement to supply water to Plum and Monroeville for 40 years beginning in 2016.

The Westmoreland County authority will install $7.5 million in improvements and upgrades to its system to meet the demands of Plum and Monroeville, a minimum of 5.1 million gallons of water per day, according to a news release. Plum and Monroeville have their own municipal authorities.

Projects include new lines and two new pump stations in Murrysville, which will take about three years to complete.

"This project has significant ramifications for all three of the water authorities and is a win-win for our respective customers," Chris Kerr, resident manager of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, said in the release. "Plum and Monroeville will have a guaranteed source to meet their current and future needs at a very competitive price."

He added that the Westmoreland County authority will benefit from an estimated $110 million in revenue over the 40-year agreement.

For all three authorities, the agreement guarantees a reasonable cost and stable rate for a long time, said Gina Cerilli, a spokeswoman for the Westmoreland County authority.

"It's just comfort for 40 years," she said.

John Capor, general manager of the Monroeville Municipal Authority, said the rate with the Westmoreland County authority will be less in 2016 than what the municipality is paying now with the Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority.

He said most customers won't see much of a decrease in their bills because the cost of electricity, gas and paper will likely go up, but he said increases between 2016 and 2056 "should be minimal."

Mr. Capor said the Monroeville authority considered staying with the Wilkinsburg-Penn authority and even "kicked around the idea" of building a plant in Monroeville.

But, he said, "price talks."

"When you can guarantee what your price is going to be 40 years from now, that's a great deal," he said.

Under the deal with the Westmoreland County authority, he said, the price from 2016 to 2056 will go up 35 percent, accounting for inflation.

In the past 40 years, Mr. Capor said, water prices have increased 555 percent.

"It's a big difference," he said.

Officials from the Plum Borough Municipal Authority could not be reached for comment.

neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland

Annie Siebert: asiebert@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.


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