Bucks County Water & Sewer Launches $155M Campaign To Upgrade System

WARRINGTON, PA — The Bucks County Water & Sewer Authority (BCWSA) has launched a capital improvement campaign to invest $155 million in significant improvements and repairs to its aging sewer system.

The initial investment is part of an ongoing infrastructure improvement initiative that BCWSA will continue to fund over the next few years.

The agency recently issued bonds to fund the first phase of the campaign, which includes $60 million for major upgrades to the Neshaminy Interceptor, a large-diameter pipeline that carries wastewater from Lower Bucks County to a wastewater treatment plant in Philadelphia. The project will bypass and replace 12 miles of aging pipeline infrastructure to reduce inflow and seepage and provide both economic and environmental benefits.

The project impacts Bensalem, Falls, Bristol Township, Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Northampton, Middletown, Langhorne Borough, Penndel Borough, Hulmeville Borough and Langhorne Manor Borough.

“The long-term reliability and vitality of BCWSA services is entirely dependent on the agency's ability to repair, replace and expand the systems' infrastructure,” said Benjamin Jones, CEO of BCWSA. “The agency has done so for the past 60 years and plans to continue doing so for at least the next 60 years.”

Other projects that will be funded in the first phase include:

  • $27,500,000 for telescopic sewer inspection. The agency has an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct camera inspections of approximately 800 miles of sewers over the next seven years. Once problem areas are identified, the agency must make the necessary repairs.
  • $20,000,000 for Green Street Upgrades. The Doylestown Township sewer system is currently undergoing an expansion and upgrade. Phases I and II are currently being constructed and the latest bonds will support the construction of Phases III and IV. The wastewater treatment plant expansion is designed to handle the area's future capacity required by current and planned developments, as well as the failure of the sewerage disposal on the property for the next 10 to 15 years.
  • $15,000,000 for Lambertville Modernization. Lambertville Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion. The Lambertville Wastewater Treatment Plant is located in New Jersey and wastewater is pumped via a pipeline over the Lambertville Bridge across the Delaware River. The current treatment plant is operating at nearly 80 percent capacity and New Jersey State law requires any treatment plant operating at more than 80 percent capacity to be expanded. The plant expansion will accommodate the region's future capacity required by current and planned developments for the next 10 to 15 years.
  • $15,000,000 to upgrade the Quakertown plant. The expansion of the Quakertown Wastewater Treatment Plant will accommodate the expected growth of the area and recover abstraction fees from future development. The Quakertown Wastewater Treatment Plant is nearing capacity and the northern part of the county is expected to grow rapidly. The expansion will accommodate the expected growth of the area and recover abstraction fees from future development.
  • $15,000,000 for CNB Expansion. Expansion of the wastewater treatment plant to accommodate storm weather and peak flows. Project impacts Plumstead, Bedminster, Doylestown Township and New Britain Borough.
  • $2,000,000 for the Old Dublin Pumps in Doylestown Township. Replace pumps at the Upper Dublin Wastewater Treatment Plant that have exceeded their useful life. Project impacts Plumstead, Bedminster and Doylestown Townships.

“We have heard from our customers and the communities we serve about the importance of maintaining the authority as a public utility. They have reinforced our confidence that BCWSA is well-equipped to successfully complete a multi-year, multi-million dollar infrastructure improvement campaign,” Jones said. “Our investments will go beyond simply replacing aging pipes and equipment, but will improve capacity for those we serve, enable regional growth and create a sustainable future.”

Payment of the first bond issue will increase BCWSA wastewater customers' rates by 10 percent over the next three years. The rate increase for wholesale customers will total about 16 percent. Customers will see the new rates on their bills starting this month.

“Most people don't think about water and wastewater services except when it's time to pay the bills,” Jones said. “The infrastructure needed to provide reliable clean water and to collect and treat wastewater is taken for granted – until it stops working. That's why we need to continually invest and make sure we address problems before they happen.”

The initial $155 million investment is part of a $197.6 million bond series recently approved by the BCWSA Board of Directors. A portion of the total proceeds will be earmarked for repayment of the Authority's existing bonds and wastewater debt. In addition, the BCWSA plans to issue at least two more bond series within the next five years to fund additional infrastructure improvements.

BCWSA has created a website, www.BCWSAInvestments.org, to track the status of infrastructure projects.

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