FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: When will the project start and finish?
A: At this time, we estimate work to begin in October of 2020, with an estimated 1 ½ -2 year completion date (mid -late 2022).
Q: In what area(s) will the project work start?
A: This will be determined at a pre-construction meeting prior to any work being started.
Q: Where is the water coming from and is it safe to drink?
A: Plumville Water Treatment Plant will be the main source of water for this project, with a backup source from Creekside Water Treatment Plant and its distribution system. Testing and other quality control samples are taken daily throughout our water systems to ensure that ICMSA water is safe for human consumption. The water treatment operators, in conjunction with required laboratory testing, work as a team to ensure that the drinking water meets or exceeds all EPA and PA DEP water quality standards. Over 286 million Americans get their water from a community water system.
Q: How many homes are in this project?
A: Approximately 300- 400 new residential /commercial customers are estimated in this project
Q: Will the main roads or my driveway be closed or shut down?
A: Contractors will do their best to keep roads and driveways open and traffic flowing smoothly. However, temporary shut-downs from time to time may be unavoidable. When this is necessary, detours will be provided. You will be notified if you live on a road or driveway that is to be closed temporarily so that you can make arrangements to avoid any disruptions.
Q: What about school buses and emergency vehicles?
A: Necessary provisions for emergency vehicles and school buses will be made, and 911 emergency services will be notified in advance of any road closures.
Q: Are we going to be out of water at any time?
A: Construction should have no effect on your current water source and/or supply.
Q: Will I be notified when I am allowed to hook up to the public water?
A: Once construction and mandatory testing of the new water lines are complete, ICMSA will send you information regarding connection. All property owners within 150’ of the water main, and covered under a mandatory ordinance, will be subject to and receive a monthly system development charge / debt service bill estimated between $ 28-30 dollars per month. This monthly fee applies whether you connect to the public water or not.
Q: Am I required to use public water?
A: You are not required to use the public water. However, under the mandatory tap ordinance of Rayne Township or Marion Center Borough, if your home is within 150 feet of the main line you will be required to pay the basic system development charge or debt service regardless of any usage of water.
Q: Can I still use my well?
A: Yes, connection to public water is voluntary, and property owners can decline connection to the public water system. However, under the mandatory tap ordinance you will still be required to pay a monthly fee of between $28-$30 dollars if you are within 150’ of the main water line. Under ordinance, mandatory tap /debt service is required but mandatory use is not.
Q: What is a tap ordinance?
A: A municipality adopts a mandatory tap in ordinance for the purpose of guaranteeing funds for water treatment, storage, distribution systems, the plant and facilities connected therewith, and other costs associated with expanding facilities. ICMSA must collect revenues as collateral against default of its loans.
There are 2 types of ordinances -Mandatory tap or Mandatory use. Municipal tap ordinances covered under this project are mandatory tap only. Again, monthly fee payments under mandatory tap ordinance ensure payback of the loans. Mandatory use of water is not required.
Q: Can I use both my well and public water?
A: No. If you connect to the public water, you are mandated and required to physically disconnect your private well for all household use and consumption purposes. If you choose to use the public water, you are permitted to use your well and isolate your outside spigots (supplied only by the well) for watering your lawn and/or garden, washing your car, etc. However, you must physically disconnect your well from all internal plumbing in your home to prevent any cross connection between public and private water sources.
Q: Who determines where you put my water tap connection?
A: An Authority representative will provide you with a flag that you will place where you want your water tap to be located. ICMSA will do its best to accommodate your preferred location. If for some reason this cannot be accommodated, an Authority representative will contact you to discuss an optional location.
Q: Who is responsible for running the service line to my home?
A: Each property owner is responsible for the installation of the water line from the curb stop into their home.
Q: Can I install my own line?
A: Yes, you can. However, you are required to have an inspection by ICMSA personnel/representative prior to backfilling the line and making the physical connection to the water tap. There is no charge for the initial inspection. There will be a $50.00 inspection fee for any additional inspections, if required.
Q: What if I would also like to have water to an outbuilding or to my garage? Would I be required to put in a separate tap?
A: Only one tap would be required. However, “piggybacking” a non-residential, non-commercial building or garage would require the property owner to pay an additional fee for a frost-free meter pit as per ICMSA Rules and Regulations.
Q: How deep must my service line be and what specifications must I follow?
A: ICMSA will send each property owner an information packet with the service line installation specifications.
Q: What kind to material must be used for a individual residential water service line?
A: ICMSA waterline specifications 250 psi PVC / CTS is required for your service line.
Q: Who will repair or restore my property that is impacted by the Authority’s contractor?
A: Pre-construction photos and/or video will be taken of all properties impacted prior to any contract work being done. The Authority’s contractor has the responsibility to restore your property to its original condition prior to completion of the project. Property owners will need to notify the Authority’s inspector of any restoration issues or complaints during the construction of the project. Affected property owners will have a period of 2 years upon completion of the project to report any restoration issues. ALL Property owners and/or their contractor will be responsible for their own individual service line and for any restoration work caused by the installation of your service line.
Q: What is a basic “system development charge” or “debt service” charge?
A: Our sole source of revenue is from our customers. The monthly fee /charge is to cover the enormous costs to put in place this water system infrastructure. The required monthly fee is necessary to help pay development costs and the debt monies borrowed (loans) from the funding agency.
Q: How much is the basic monthly charge?
A: This monthly cost is associated with all development costs and debt borrowed or payback of all Pennvest loans within our regional system. The basic charge is used as revenue or collateral against default of all of ICMSA loans. Estimated costs will range from $28-$30 per month and are subject to change annually.
Q: If I choose to use the public water, how much is an average monthly water bill?
A: If you use the public water, you will be required to pay the basic monthly charge and a usage fee. ICMSA rates are currently set at $27.50 per month flat fee plus $10.75 per thousand gallons of water used. The average water bill for a family of 4 is $59.75 per month based on an average usage of 3,000 gallons. However, these are current average costs and are subject to change annually.
Q: Why does your water cost so much?
A: Our basic monthly charge is currently $27.50 and additional $10.75 per thousand gallons of water used or consumed. Which is equal to .0107 cents per gallon. This is in comparison to a gallon of water that is purchase from Grocery store at $1.00 per gal which is equal to $1000.00 dollars per 1,000 gallons of water. Average costs of a gallon of gas @ $2.50 per gallon or which is equal to $2.500.00 for 1,000 gallons of gasoline * An 12oz cup of Starbucks coffee @ $3.00 per cup would equal 128 oz per gallon or approx. 10 cups of 12 oz. coffee, this would equal $30 dollars per gallon or $30 X 1,000 gallons =$ 30,000.00 of coffee purchased.
*Starbucks coffee = $30.00 per gallon x 1,000 gals = $30,000.00
*Gasoline = $2.50 per gallon x 1,000 gal = $2,500.00
*Grocery store water = $1.00 per gallon x 1,000 gal = $1,000
*ICMSA water = 0.01075 cents per gallon. X 1,000 gal = $10.75--- If you combine ICMSA’s current system development charge/debt service fee $27.50 with the usage costs of $10.75 per 1,000 gals = $38.25 per 1,000 gallons or 0.038 cents per gallon.
Q: Will my monthly user fees increase and who sets these fees?
A: There are many factors that play a key role in our fee structure. For example: Pennvest loan debt paybacks, annual DEP permit fees (example - 2 years ago DEP annual permit fees went from $500.00 to $10,0000 dollars), PennDOT line relocation costs, insurance, administration, wages, distribution costs, treatment costs, electricity, purification costs, laboratory and testing costs; to name a few.
ICMSA is a nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, ICMSA does not have the advantage of largely populated areas and major business developments in small communities such as yours. The role of the ICMSA Board of Directors is to try to keep our user fees as low as possible but to also deliver quality services 24/7 -365 days a year to our customers. However, user rate fees must be set accordingly to offset and cover all associated business costs. This is why we take the regional system approach to distribute costs throughout all of our systems in an effort to make rates as affordable as possible for all of our customers.
Q: Why have I not heard of this project before now? I never wanted this.
A: ICMSA’s goal has always been to provide essential services to the rural communities of Indiana County. This project was at the request of private citizens and local public officials. ICMSA has never constructed a project without the request, approval and cooperation of the local public officials. ICMSA was contacted to discuss project feasibility regarding the urgent need for public water for this area. This Marion Center project and surrounding areas was originally discussed in 2011 and has been in the planning stages for many, many years.
Q: What is a regional system approach?
A: Since 1973, ICMSA has obtained over 150 million dollars in project development monies to create county wide water and wastewater systems and infrastructure to rural areas of Indiana County. A Regional approach combines shared expenses across our customer base. This helps distribute costs throughout all of our 7 water systems in an effort to make rates as affordable as possible for all of our customers.
The regional system concept that has been developed gives ICMSA the capability to extend water service to additional outlying areas of Indiana County including areas like Rayne Township and Marion Center Borough. By constructing this water project will not only enhance the lives of the residents but will hopefully attract much wanted new business and community development opportunities.
Q: How is ICMSA regulated, who is responsible?
A: ICMSA is regulated by governmental agencies, namely the Department of Environmental Protection (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Pa DEP) and the ICMSA Board of Directors. The Executive Director and ICMSA staff are responsible for the day to day operations.
Q: Does the public water meet safety standards?
A: ICMSA water is required and performs regularly testing daily, monthly, quarterly, and annually to ensure that the water meets or exceeds all EPA and DEP water quality standards prescribed by their regulations.
Q: What do you test for?
A: ICMSA tests its water for many number of parameters including bacteria, PCB’s, VOC’s (volatile organic carbon), IOC’s (inorganic compounds), chlorine, and chlorine byproducts from disinfection.
Q: Who performs the testing?
A: Water samples that are collected are then analyzed by a DEP approved independent accredited /certified lab. Pennsylvania State Regulations (25 Pa. Code, Chapter 252) requires environmental laboratories performing testing on drinking water samples, to be accredited and to comply with any environmental statutes listed in the regulation. The Pennsylvania Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP) evaluates and accredits environmental laboratories in accordance with State and Federal Regulations to protect the environment and ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.