Capital Region Water (CRW) was awarded $3.5 million in COVID-19 ARPA H2O PA grant funds on Dec. 19 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) to construct a new sewer interceptor along Paxton Creek.

CRW is part of a coalition of stakeholders who are collectively advancing the Paxton Creek Greenway Initiative (Initiative) in Dauphin County. Additional Initiative partners include the City of Harrisburg, the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority, the Dauphin County Redevelopment Authority, the Tri-County Planning Commission, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Environmental Protection.

“Receiving this award is very exciting for us,” Andrew Enders, vice-chairperson of the CRW Board of Directors said. “We are most thankful for the collaboration of so many key stakeholders and their help in bringing the project concept to fruition.”

The Initiative is a collaborative effort to restore the natural ecological function of Paxton Creek within the City of Harrisburg and surrounding communities. The goals of the Initiative are to upgrade the health of the watershed; improve water and sewer services to the residents; create new recreational amenities along Paxton Creek; and to generate new economic development opportunities in the region.

“Senator John DiSanto and representatives Patty Kim, Justin Fleming, David Madsen, and Joe Kerwin were critical in solidifying this project and advocating for its success,” Charlotte Katzenmoyer, CEO of CRW said. “The importance of this Initiative was recognized and championed by our legislators, and we are very pleased to have their investment.”

This is one of the key implementation projects of the greater Initiative. The current Paxton Creek Sewer Interceptor requires significant structural rehabilitation for continued service. The interceptor’s age, condition,  and alignment with the railroad and former Pennsylvania Canal create significant challenges for CRW to maintain the system. The pipeline’s unusual geometry dramatically complicates its rehabilitation, thus making it financially non-feasible.

Completing the interceptor replacement with the Paxton Creek de-channelization allows for strong collaboration among the Initiative partners, saving CRW money and benefiting its ratepayers in local communities. The H2O grant will go toward the design costs of the overall interceptor construction as well as the necessary site preparation activities to support the new interceptor.

“While we remain committed to implementing just and equitable projects to address the challenges of old and aging infrastructure, the solution requires a collaborative approach,” said Marc Kurowski, board chairperson at Capital Region Water. “This award will have a positive impact on not just the project, but our ratepayers, as well as providing other benefits of economic development and recreational opportunities for the region.”

The H2O PA Act was established by the General Assembly in July 2008. The Act provides for single-year or multi-year grants to municipalities or municipal authorities to assist with the construction of drinking water, sanitary sewer, and storm water projects. Act 54 of 2022 appropriated $205.4 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to the H2O PA – Water Supply, Sanitary Sewer, and Storm Water Projects Program.

The CFA received 431 applications totaling more than $1 billion in funds. CRW was one of 209 applicants awarded funding.

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