Avon Grove School District moves closer to selling wastewater treatment plant
● By Steven Hoffman
The Avon Grove School Board recently authorized district officials to move forward with negotiations to sell the district-owned wastewater treatment plant to Aqua Wastewater, Inc.
The district sought requests for proposals from companies interested in purchasing the wastewater treatment plant early in 2015. The only company to submit a proposal was Aqua Wastewater, Inc. The company provides water and wastewater services to approximately 3 million people in eight states.
District superintendent Dr. Christopher Marchese emphasized that the board is only approving the proposal to allow the district to engage in negotiations, not the final contract itself. The board voted 7-0 in favor of the motion so negotiations will continue.
Business manager Daniel Carsley said that Aqua Wastewater, Inc. has offered to pay $100,000 for the sewage treatment plant, with plans to put an additional $150,000 of work into it to comply with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulations. Once the wastewater system is sold, the district will likely pay about $75,000 annually for connecting to the system. However, the district would no longer have the financial obligations to operate and maintain the plant.
Carsley said that the wastewater treatment system has sufficient capacity to meet the district’s needs into the future, and Aqua Wastewater, Inc. would have the option of expanding the wastewater treatment plant and sell capacity to other customers.
In his Facilities Committee report, school board member Edward Farina updated the board about some of the projects that had been undertaken over the summer to upgrade the facilities.
Farina explained that new LED lighting has been added to Penn London Elementary School. Some painting has also taken place, and partitions were added in the bathroom.
At the Fred S. Engle Middle School, ramps and handrails have been installed for portables, insulation has been added for pipes, and the exterior windows have been washed.
The lobby and walls were painted at Avon Grove High School. The gym has also been painted, and the exterior windows were washed.
A major upgrade that impacts all the district’s schools is the installation of a new digital telephone system. This new system will not only allow for direct calls from one building to another, it will also allow calls to the 9-1-1 system to be identified by the building that the call was placed. With the previous phone system, calls to 9-1-1 only showed that the call was originating with the Avon Grove School District, and did not allow for the immediate identification of where the call was coming from.
Farina concluded his report by saying, “I am extremely impressed with the conditions of the schools—the way that they look.”
The school board approved a proposal for Signal 88 Security to provide one security officer to monitor and patrol the high school and middle school at a weekly rate of $835.20 for 182 days.
The district is making a change to its monthly meeting schedule. The board had been holding regular business meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The format for the meeting that takes place on the second Thursday is changing to a work session. This will allow the board to have more informal discussions about matters that pertain to the district’s strategic plan. The school board will then conduct all its business during the meeting on the fourth Thursday of the month. District officials are thinking about starting the work sessions at 6:30 p.m. District officials are hopeful that the change will be finalized in time to have the Sept. 10 meeting be the first meeting with the new format.