TOWANDA - The Towanda Municipal Authority's revenue from the sale of bulk water to gas drilling companies has dropped significantly, the authority's manager said at the most recent meeting of the TMA.

In October, the TMA received $13,777 from bulk water sales to gas companies, Towanda Municipal Authority Manager Tom Fairchild Jr. said. By contrast, the TMA received over $850,000 in revenue from bulk water sales to gas companies during 2011.

"A lot (of that) has to do with the business (that the gas drilling companies are doing)," he said. "I do see water tankers here and there, but not as much."

The Towanda Municipal Authority has still not received $638,000 in reimbursements from FEMA and PEMA for damage that Tropical Storm Lee caused to its water and sewer systems in September 2011, Fairchild said.

If the reimbursement money continues to be unavailable, the authority may be forced to borrow funds to pay for the planned development of new water sources for the authority, he said.

"We may have to enlist the help of our state and federal legislators" to obtain the funds, he said.

Fairchild said he was concerned that the reimbursements could be delayed further because FEMA and PEMA have had to focus their attention and resources on the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Fortunately, the authority had revenue on hand from the sale of bulk water to gas drilling companies to pay up front for the damage caused by Tropical Storm Lee, so the authority did not have to go into debt to make the repairs, Fairchild said.

However, the authority needs the government reimbursements because it was planning on using the revenue from the bulk water sales to pay for capital projects and to develop additional water wells for the expanding municipal water system in central Bradford County, Fairchild said. The additional water wells are also needed as a backup, in case one of TMA's existing water sources failed, he said.

The authority did receive $104,000 in government reimbursement for repairs that were made after Tropical Storm Lee to the TMA's sewage collection system, which sustained damage to two pump stations, he said.

And the authority also received $238,000 from its insurance company to help pay for $495,000 in damage caused by Tropical Storm Lee to the authority's sewage treatment plant, he said.

But the authority is still waiting for reimbursements from PEMA and FEMA for the $257,000 in treatment plant repairs that were not covered by the insurance company, he said.

The authority has also not yet received any reimbursement for the $380,000 in repairs it made to its water system after Lee, when several stream crossings were disrupted and one stream crossing was destroyed, he said.

"We appreciate the help offered by the state and federal governments (to help pay for damage caused by Tropical Storm Lee). However, if we don't receive the funds from FEMA and PEMA or don't receive them in a timely manner, we will need to seek alternate funding sources for our new water source project, including borrowing," he said.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.