Strong Turnout, Many Perspectives at LCA Water Forum
Last night (June 10), the Lehigh County Authority (LCA) held its first community forum to discuss the future of wastewater capacity within central and western Lehigh County. On the forum’s website, LCA sums up why there is a need for more capacity:
The wastewater treatment plant owned and operated by the City of Allentown has no additional capacity available to allocate for future needs. That is, the plant can treat up to 40 million gallons of wastewater a day, on average, and all of that capacity has already been sold to the municipalities served by the plant, or is held by Allentown for its needs. Based on economic growth projections for this region, additional capacity will be required in 3 to 5 years to meet the needs of existing and future customers.
Judging by the strong attendance at last night’s forum, this issue is attracting stakeholders from diverse backgrounds: members of environmental/watershed groups, engineers, and municipal and county officials, among others. LCA hopes to bring together these stakeholders to discuss the available options for increasing capacity, which range from expanding the current facility at Kline’s Island to upgrading a pre-treatment plant in Fogelsville to full treatment.
Following LCA’s presentation of its options, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski gave a very informative overview of options for expanding the Kline’s Island plant that have the potential of lowering costs for the project.
Deana Zosky, RenewLV’s co-chair, talked with reporter Sarah Fulton yesterday (covering for the Morning Call) and stated that it will be important to closely examine the impact of each option on planning in the Lehigh Valley (in particular, the effects on the growth of the region).
In regard to the effect of this decision on planning and growth in the Lehigh Valley, it will be crucial to keep in mind the long-term (as well as short-term) costs associated with each option. While some of the options may seem less expensive at this time, I wonder about their implications for future costs (associated, for example, with new infrastructure being built to accommodate developments in outlying areas). At this time, it is unknown what these future costs might look like, but, hopefully, the steering committee will examine this matter in more detail.
For more information on RenewLV’s work on water and wastewater issues within the region, visit our Regional Water Initiative page.