Jun. 29—EBENSBURG — Leaders in Ebensburg are taking steps to get the lead out.
Borough council this week backed the borough municipal authority's application for funding to replace more than 3,000 feet of century-old cast-iron waterline with lead couplings.
The project would also replace any old lead service lines from the water main to businesses or homes along West and East High streets from the borough line near New Germany Road to the intersection with Tanner Street.
Council members voted unanimously Monday to notify the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority that the project met borough standards, which is required for the Ebensburg Municipal Authority's application to PennVEST.
Chairman Jerry McMullen said the authority is applying for grant funding through the Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act, which the PennVEST website says "temporarily expands the Clean Water to Drinking Water" State Revolving Fund specifically to address lead-related threats to public health in drinking water.
Leaders hope to continue replacing old lines throughout the borough, following through with additional phases.
A study by engineers from Stiffler McGraw of Hollidaysburg the total cost at about $15 million for the borough's entire system, McMullen said.
"We'd have to do a very big project to replace all the lines," he said.
In addition to removing the threat from lead in the pipe fittings, borough Public Works Director Jeff Evans said the upgrade should reduce the number of problems with the old lines.
"It's 100 years old, plus," Evans said. "A big chunk of the work we have is the old pipes in town that are that same material."
Evans told council the design will be submitted by mid-July and work could begin later this year if the grant is approved.
"Any grant money is always very competitive," Evans said.
Safe zone in works
Police Chief Terry Wyland said the department is developing a safe "exchange zone" in a borough parking lot near Cambria County Courthouse.
A section of the lot will be painted bright green, identifying it as a safe neutral sight with video surveillance — a spot to complete purchases from online marketplaces or for couples with ongoing custody disputes to exchange children.
Johnstown police set up a similar safety zone near the public safety building earlier this year.
In other business, council voted to:
—Approve bids totaling $504,044.95 from Quaker Sales of Johnstown for resurfacing taxiways and the apron at Ebensburg Airport.
—Approved $2,250 for CDI/L.R. Kimball to begin exploring options for dredging Lake Rowena.
—Voted to switch the electric supplier for borough properties from WGL Energy of Vienna, Pennsylvania, to APPI Energy of Salisbury, Maryland.
—Approved a memorandum of understanding to settle a grievance filed by the public works department employees' union after the borough hired an outside contractor to help with snow removal. The agreement outlined circumstances when contractors can be used. The settlement also awards $100 to each local union member.