Pennsylvania American Water (PAW) hosted state and local officials and dignitaries on Friday, May 17 to mark the completion of major improvements to the Hays Mine Treatment Plant and Becks Run Pumping Station.
The upgrades are part of the company’s $101 million investment to improve service and public safety at its Pittsburgh area water treatment facilities. The project also included renovations to the E.H. Aldrich Treatment Plant in Elrama, Washington County, and the Arlington Booster Station in the Allentown neighborhood, which supply drinking water to approximately 500,000 people.
“These upgrades represented on of the largest capital improvement projects in Pennsylvania American Water’s history,” said Kathy L. Pape, president of PAW. “With these improvements to treatment processes, our Greater Pittsburgh facilities fully comply with new regulatory standards. We’re also proud that our investment provided and economic boost to southwestern Pennsylvania.”
The upgrade was partially funded through the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority’s (PEDFA) tax-exempt debt, which helped to reduce its cost of capital.
“The successful results of this project represent what can be achieved when state agencies, local government, companies and markets work together in a way that benefits all Pennsylvanians,” said Mike Cortez, senior advisor for the Department of Community and Economic Development. “Today is a win for everyone, tremendous improvements to service and public safety as a result of this $101 million project.”
Built in 1894 when PAW was known as the South Pittsburgh Water Company, the Hays Mine Water Treatment Plant and Becks Run Pumping Station are capable of delivering 60 million gallons of water per day to communities in southern Allegheny and northern Washington counties.
“For more than 100 years, the facilities here have been providing this community with clean, safe drinking water,” said Commissioner Wayne E. Gardner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. “While they were state of the art for their time, the new facility will increase efficiency and reliability.”
The original Becks Run intake was constructed in 1905, delivering river water approximately two miles up Becks Run Road to the Hays Mine Water Treatment Plant. Pennsylvania American Water’s upgrades replaced infrastructure that had reached the end of its useful life.
The new facilities include: Monongahela River intake structure; Raw water pump station; Installation of 3,000 feet of new 42” water main; Finished water storage and pump station structure; and Chemical feed facilities.
In addition to enabling the Hays Mine Treatment Plant to comply with new regulatory standards and improve treatment processes, the upgrade enhances public safety by replacing gas chlorine with liquid chlorine to address concerns associated with chlorine gas storage.
“We thank Pennsylvania American Water for being proactive in completing these upgrades and improvements to its facility,” Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Secretary Kelly Heffner said. “These investments will ensure that Pennsylvania American Water’s drinking water will meet regulatory standards for generations to come.”
The upgrades also provided significant economic development opportunities for labor and suppliers here in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“We’re excited to see the investment by Pennsylvania American Water in our community and are proud of the work that they continue to do with our local companies,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Having upgraded services that impact our quality of life and public safety makes our county an attractive place to live, work and play.”