Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $32 million loan to ensure safe water supply for Erie

Will fund new pumps, upgraded treatment plant, expanded storage capacity

ERIE, Oct. 16 – A $32 million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority will ensure that Erie residents continue to enjoy reliable access to safe drinking water, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today.

The loan to Erie City Water Authority will fund projects that enhance service for more than 57,000 residents.

“Ensuring a safe, reliable water supply depends on smooth, coordinated functioning of multiple systems, from pumps and chlorination equipment to treatment, testing and storage facilities,” Merski said. “This funding is essential to help us address long-standing issues such as pump stations that are at the end of their useable lives and an 80-year-old treatment plant building long overdue for upgrades.”

Harkins agreed, noting, “The water authority has already invested more than $60 million in upgrading filtration equipment and standby power. The new financing builds on those improvements by addressing plant infrastructure issues, remedying code violations and expanding water storage to ensure Erie and surrounding towns have a plentiful, continuous supply.”

Bizzarro added that the funding allows Erie to continue to fulfill its most important duties to residents.

“Safeguarding public and community health is the No. 1 priority for government,” he said. “The funding announced today enables Erie to do just that while also tending to critical infrastructure needs. The projects funded will ensure that when residents turn on their tap, they receive the clean, safe drinking water they deserve and have a right to expect – now and for decades to come.” 

The projects by location are as follows:

  • Cherry Street Pump Station. Replacement of eight pumps using variable frequency drive motors, a new sodium hypochlorite feed system, and emergency backup power.
  • Wasielewski Water Treatment Plant. Multiple building upgrades and control system improvements, construction of a testing laboratory, improved stormwater management, and other improvements.
  • Asbury Pump Station. Construction of a new building and the addition of yard piping, pumps and electrical service adjacent to the existing pump station.
  • South Booster Tank site. Construction of a 1-million-gallon finished water storage tank.

The loan has a term of 240 months and a rate of 1% during the interest-only period and first five years of amortization, increasing to 1.739% from years six to maturity.