UAJA expansion study takes step forward

University Area Joint Authority’s beneficial reuse water system expansion moved a step forward on Thursday.

The Centre Regional Planning Commission approved a motion to recommend that the Centre Region Council of Governments initiate a public comment period for the 2017 Act 537 plan (Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act) special study.

The study, which COG General Forum approved in February 2016, looked at extending a beneficial reuse waterline into Harris Township to serve potential customers such as the Mountain View Country Club and Tussey Mountain Ski Area and potentially the Boalsburg Technology Park along Discovery Drive.

The extension would cost $2.4 million, said Cory Miller, UAJA’s executive director.

If the COG General Forum initiates the 60-day public comment period at its June 26 meeting, Miller said, final action could take place at COG’s Aug. 28 meeting.

The beneficial reuse water program was originally established in the region to figure out what to do with wastewater while counteracting the effects of growth, Miller said.

He said UAJA’s beneficial reuse water system uses drinking water technology.

UAJA is “making super clean water out of wastewater,” Miller said.

A million gallons per day of beneficial reuse water is being produced by UAJA, Miller said, with the authority looking to expand that to 2 mgd.

Centre Hills Country Club takes 350,000 gallons per day, and Gordon D. Kissinger Meadow wetlands receives 450,000 gpd, he said.

Mountain View would use about 350,000 gpd to irrigate its golf courses, while Tussey, on a peak day, could use more than a million gallons to produce snow, he said.

CRPC Vice Chairman Jon Eich asked how it was going trying to get the state Department of Environmental Protection to reclassify beneficial reuse water.

UAJA has been trying for several years to get DEP to classify beneficial reuse water as something other than sewage, Miller said, but with no such luck.

Another regional study is being done to determine how to show beneficial reuse waterlines inside the growth boundary sewer service area.

Now, UAJA has to show specifically where beneficial reuse waterlines are in the Act 537 plan, so an amendment to the plan would require a formal process with DEP, Jim May, Centre Regional Planning Agency director, said in March.

“By showing beneficial reuse lines allowed anywhere, we wouldn’t have to go through that full-blown amendment process with DEP,” he said.