AWA applies for second watershed grant

The Altoona Water Authority is applying for another $960,000 grant to help buy 2,459 acres of watershed above the Horseshoe Curve, where the authority could install treatment systems to clean up acid mine drainage that now forces it to bypass Kittanning Run around the Curve reservoirs.

The authority voted in March to apply for a $960,000 “C2P2” grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to cover about half the $1.9 million cost.

The authority voted on Thursday to apply for the same amount from the Abandoned Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment Program operated by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

The likelihood of success will depend on the number and quality of other applications, indicated grant consultant Dick Sutter.

A regional adviser for DCNR has already toured the ground, owned by Cooney Bros. Coal Co., and plans to come back again with “acquisition specialists,” Sutter said.

If both grants are awarded, the authority might need to pay about 5 percent of the total expenses, according to Sutter.

The authority should learn whether it will get both, one or none of the grants by October or November, Sutter said.

At the earliest, the authority could close on the property in January, Sutter said.

A Department of Environmental Protection pilot program that is a conduit for federal funds is another grant possibility, Sutter said.

Applications can be submitted starting in October, he said.

The Cooney estate is aware of the authority’s efforts and is being patient, according to solicitor Dave Consiglio.

“They have been very committed to us from the get-go,” Consiglio said.

“They are good to work with,” said General Manager Mark Perry.

Cooney Bros. intends to clean up the site, including hill climbs for ATVs and dirt bikes at “Big Murph,” the site of periodic parties, Perry said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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