PITTSTON — Council on Monday approved an agreement between the city and the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority.
The deal, according to city administrator Joe Moskovitz, covers the eventual separation of the city’s stormwater system from its sewage system.
The move stems from an unfunded federal mandate to reduce the amount of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus deposited into the Susquehanna River from stormwater.
“Those lines need to be separated,” said Moskovitz. “We just did 40 percent of the city in 2009 that separated sewage and stormwater and that was $10 million. Yes, our ratepayers are paying for it and that’s what that sewer maintenance fee pays for — it pays for that and it pays for us to maintain those lines.”
The motion passed 3-1, with Danny Argo voting against it. Councilman Joe McClean was absent.
Argo said he was opposed because of the money it might cost city residents.
At this point in the process, council members said they are unsure of how much it would cost.
Moskovitz estimated it could range from $36 to $48 a year per household to maintain the systems.
“We’re not getting anything out of it,” Argo said. “It’s a consultant fee and I don’t think it’s warranted, especially because they didn’t say how much it’s going to cost the people. I’m concerned about the property owners.”
Moskovitz said the WVSA will hash out details of the project in the coming weeks, and although council members are unsure of what potentially lies ahead, the deadline to approve the motion was approaching and the reward outweighed the risk.
“The choice is are you going to participate or not, and the problem is non-participation exposes you to unknown liability,” he said. “There are unknowns here, because there are still technical studies that are being done and there are still parts of this that are unknown.”
In other business, council members:
• Re-appointed Angelo Menichini to the Civil Service Commission effective retroactively from Sept. 30, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2018.
• Re-appointed Richard Korpusik to the Civil Service Commission effective retroactively from Sept. 30, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2019.