Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

CRW receives $13 million state loan, will begin greening projects Uptown, Allison Hill

This catch basin in front of the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg was recently installed as part of Capital Region Water’s green infrastructure program.

Capital Region Water is in line to receive a multi-million-dollar state loan that should provide a boost to its ongoing battle against stormwater runoff.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office announced on Wednesday that Capital Region Water (CRW) would receive a $13-million, low-interest loan for green infrastructure projects in several Harrisburg neighborhoods, including South Allison Hill and Uptown.

“On behalf of Capital Region Water’s board of directors, we wish to express our gratitude for the financial assistance provided through PENNVEST,” said Charlotte Katzenmoyer, CEO of CRW. “This funding will help Capital Region Water protect public health and the environment while offsetting the financial burden placed on our customers.”

CRW’s loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST)  constituted a fair chunk of the $98 million in water infrastructure funding announced on Wednesday by Wolf’s office. In all, 11 counties received funding for a variety of drinking water and wastewater projects.

In Harrisburg, the loan, which carries an interest rate of 1 percent, will allow CRW to initiate two major projects next year, said Tanya Dierolf, CRW sustainability and strategic projects manager.

The first project will take place in the heart of Allison Hill around the intersections of Derry, 14th and 15th streets. There, CRW will install a variety of green infrastructure, including tree trenches, planter boxes and catch basins, along with new, ADA-compliant ramps, Dierolf said.

These improvements are expected to capture 50,750 gallons of stormwater per year, she said.

The second project planned for 2020 will take place Uptown near the Camp Curtin YMCA. That project will include planters, bumpouts, inlets and catch basins, as well as new ADA-compliant ramps, Dierolf said.

This project is expected to capture some 100,000 gallons of stormwater a year and result in four additional green acres in the neighborhood, Dierolf said.

From 2021-24, the loan will fund additional stormwater projects in Uptown Harrisburg and near the Paxton Creek, she said.

CRW is under a partial consent decree with the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection to slash pollutant levels flowing into area waterways. Much of the problem lies with Harrisburg’s obsolete combined sewer system, which allows untreated stormwater and wastewater to flow into the Susquehanna River during moderate and heavy rainfalls.

CRW plans to invest $315 million over the next 20 years to upgrade its sewer system and install green infrastructure, which is a major part of its plan to reduce stormwater flows through its system.

Dierolf said that CRW’s plan includes implementing 50 acres of greening throughout the city, which should capture 20 to 40 million gallons of stormwater per year.

In central Pennsylvania, in addition to CRW’s loan, several projects in Lancaster County were funded, including a $11.2-million loan to Lancaster city to upgrade a wastewater conveyance system. Like Harrisburg, Lancaster is under a federal consent decree to reduce pollutant flows into local waterways.

“PENNVEST funding has provided much-needed financial assistance to Pennsylvania’s communities for decades, but as the need for costly infrastructure improvements continues to grow, so must our responsibility to be a commensurate partner in those investment increases,” Wolf said, in a statement.

For more information about Capital Region Water, visit their website.

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