The Canton Borough Authority is taking its first step toward an upgrade of its wastewater treatment plant.

At its February meeting, the authority board of directors voted unanimously to hire Uni-Tec Consulting Engineers Inc. of State College to proceed with the design and permitting necessary to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant, according to a news release from authority manager Les Hilfiger.

Hilfiger said this design and permitting is necessary to apply for funding (grant and low interest loan money) from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST).

In order to find out the mix of grant and loan monies available from PennVEST, the applicant must submit a shovel-ready project, he noted. Hilfiger said it is estimated that this design and permitting will cost approximately $400,000.

Hilfiger also provided some background on the project.

At the May 10, 2011 Canton Borough Authority Board of Directors meeting, Uni-Tec Consulting Engineers Inc. was commissioned to do a feasibility study on the wastewater treatment plant to determine the best plan of action to rehabilitate the plant that was last upgraded in 1980, he said.

According to Hilfiger, the life expectancy of a treatment plant is normally predicted to be 20 years.

He said that more stringent standards have been implemented since that 1980 upgrade, dictating additional treatment to remove nutrients. This study indicated the authority would be best served by upgrading to a Sequential Batch Reactor process, he noted.

By acting now, the Authority will be able to submit the PennVEST application for the January 2014 meeting, he said.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: