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Bradford Water Auth says no to wind turbines

The Bradford City Water Authority has turned down a request from an energy company looking to put 15 to 23 wind turbines on the watershed.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the authority declined a preliminary agreement that would have allowed AES Energy “to perform a study of the watershed to determine if conditions were suitable for the installation of between 15 to 23 wind turbines,” said Steve Disney, executive director of the water authority.

After the meeting, he explained that AES approached the authority about the potential for a project here.

“They informed the authority that lands owned by the authority appear to be conducive for development of a wind turbine farm of which 15-23 wind turbines could be utilized,” he explained.

“A work session/informative discussion was held with AES representatives on July 19th,” Disney continued.

“The authority was concerned with the proposed lease agreement, specifically it was too restrictive as far as the authority was concerned in regards to site locations, land use, timber requirements, hunting restrictions, and overall decision rights over the property,” he explained.

The noise of the turbines, and the disruption to the natural beauty of the area, both weighed into the authority’s decision to turn down the project.

In other business, authority members got some good news – gypsy moth caterpillars haven’t been a significant problem on the watershed.

“Small areas that have been impacted have experienced around 30% defoliation,” read a report from Ken Kane, president of Generations Forestry. “The impact to the watershed has been more of a nuisance than a more severe or catastrophic event.”

More studies will be done this fall to determine if a spraying program will be necessary for next year.

Executive Director Steve Disney described the progress on several projects, starting with the recent award of an $8.52 million PENNVEST grant for a lead abatement project. A total of 573 lead service connections and ten water mains, totaling about three miles, will be replaced.

The streets where main replacements are planned include portions of South Avenue, Burnside Avenue, Cole Avenue, School Street, Jerome Avenue, East Main Street, Jackson Avenue, Bedford Street, Congress Street and High Street, all within the city of Bradford.

“Topographic surveying of the water line replacements is currently being performed,” Disney said, adding the project is slated to take place in 2022.

As for projects already underway, he explained contractors on the 24-inch transmission main are finishing up, with things like surface restoration work and record drawings being finalized.

For the Kenmar Acres main line extension, a total of 38 new customers have tapped into the main line, and five more remain to be hooked up.

The feed polymer addition pilot study will begin Aug. 9 and continue at least through January “to allow for the study to span both warm and cold-water cycles of the year,” Disney explained.

Cummins Construction began work July 1 on the Gilbert raw water pump station. The location of the station building was changed to avoid existing water mains. “The line tap to the 14-inch which sends raw water to the water treatment plant and the tap for the 20-inch main from the Gilbert Reservoir have been performed,” Disney said. Copper connections have been installed, and the next steps are the pouring of the concrete pad, and the construction and delivery of the pre-fab structure.

Disney reported that a topographic survey has been completed on the Marilla Brook water main crossings. “Preliminary plans have been developed to replace the water mains with new water mains installed below the bed of the stream, either by open cut or boring,” he explained. “An alternate design has also been prepared using long-span ductile iron pipe, elevated on concrete piers above the stream level.”

He said cost projections are being developed and the project’s completion is slated to be in 2022.

The installation and testing has been completed for all the 12-inch diameter PVC pipe along Campus Loop and Taylor Drive in the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford system improvement. All of the original 1955 connections have been terminated and capped.