The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 20, 2013

Township authority nixes Colver Dam drilling tests

EBENSBURG — The Cambria Township Water Authority unanimously declined the services of a surveying firm commissioned by the Northern Cambria Municipal Authority. The firm wanted to drill for a new, viable water source under the Colver Dam.

At a special meeting on Wednesday in the Cambria Township Municipal Building, authority members cited concerns about the integrity of the dam and its water, which supplies much of Cambria Township.

The Northern Cambria authority was ordered to drill for new water on

March 8, 2011, after a deep mine ground­water supply was contaminated by surface water intrusion. The contractors are already three months past the initial deadline set by the state Department of Environmental Protection to locate a replacement water source.

If a new source is not found by the recently extended deadline of April 1, the authority will be hit with a $500-per-day penalty fee.

Representatives from Hollidaysburg-based contracting firm Stiffler McGraw and the groundwater geology firm Casselberry & Associates of Boalsburg outlined their plans for the dam.

The team initially looked for sources in close proximity to the water treatment plant on the Spangler side of the merged borough. It was just a matter of finding a strong source that was nearby, but they never struck one.

“We were unable to find sufficient yield – enough water – to make this plan functional,” said John Clabaugh, senior project engineer for Stiffler McGraw. “As is the case with underground exploration, it doesn’t always work out how you’d like on the first try.

“Under threat of significant financial penalty, (Northern Cambria Municipal Authority has) been forced to broaden their search,” he said.

Jim Casselberry, a groundwater geologist for more than 30 years, said at the meeting that while Colver Dam wasn’t the most opportune location and would require a good deal of monitoring, he’s unsure about the other prospects.

Casselberry also said mine activity in the area greatly complicates the surveying work because mining leads to high levels of sulfates and aluminum, which ruins water supplies.

“The mines have caused subsidence fracturing to occur in the strata above the mine, and it’s dropped the groundwater in the near-surface aquifer down into the mine,” he said. “Once it’s in the mine, it’s contaminated to the extent that we can’t use it and it can’t be filtered.

“We don’t have any surface water high in quality and large in volume that can be filtered either, so, we’re stuck with groundwater.”

Eminent domain laws allow the contractors to seek permission to drill from a private property owner.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads