The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 15, 2012

Patton water project draws no comments

PATTON — The Susquehanna River Basin Commission on Thursday received no public comment on a request by a northern Cambria County community to begin withdrawing water from two recently drilled wells.

The lack of comment likely improves the chances that the needed approval by the multi-state oversight commission will come next month, allowing the Patton Municipal Authority to begin withdrawing water for its customers.

Approval would open the door for work to begin on transmission line construction over a space of two to three miles from the wells to town, all part of a $4 million system upgrade.

“We had really good substantiative comments, but we did not have any comments on those two Patton wells,” commission spokeswoman Susan Obleski said late Thursday.

The multistate commission met in Harrisburg to receive public comment on 35 water withdrawal projects.

Along with the Patton authority, a few other public water system applications were on the agenda, but the bulk of the projects involved water withdrawals for fracking and drilling in the Marcellus Shale bed of northeastern Pennsylvania counties.

The commission’s approval will not come too quickly for Glenn Bowman and other members of the Patton authority who are facing a push to replace an aging plant. Water now pulled from Chest Creek will be replaced by well water.

“It’s been a long, long drawn- out affair,” said Bowman, chairman of the Patton authority, speaking of the project on the drawing board about three years.

For a century, the community has been getting its municipal water directly from Chest Creek as it runs through the borough.  

It is pumped into a system of sand filter beds before being sent to customers in the borough and surrounding areas.

While the plant worked great for many years, the outdated facility – which was periodically improved – is in need of replacement, said Patton Mayor Steve Bakajza.

Some of the biggest drawbacks are that the level of Chest Creek must be constantly monitored, and when levels drop, use restrictions are implemented.

Additionally, the state Department of Environmental Protection has urged the authority to stop pulling water from the creek for a variety of reasons, including concern of potential contamination, Bakajza said.

“If our primary water source got polluted, we have no backup system, he said. “These wells give us a backup.”

A cost analysis of replacing the plant and developing a backup as opposed to drilling wells showed a difference of a couple million dollars, in favor of the wells and transmission line, the mayor said.

The authority already has spent more than $400,000 for construction of three wells. The quality of one of those wells is questionable.

It is a gamble, Bowman said, but the wells had to be drilled and tested before the commission would consider withdrawal requests.

The bulk of the project is being funded through a $4 million grant from the state’s H20Pa program, which will pay for construction of the transmission lines from the wells and complete the project.

Also being considered is a proposal to extend the line to Hastings, located about three miles away.

Joe Taranto, vice chairman of the Hastings Municipal Water Authority, said the community now gets its water from an old contaminated mine that closed in the 1920s. DEP has named the source as Mine Spring, water Taranto said is plentiful and good quality.

Negotiations between the two communities continue, Bakajza said.

The project for customers of the Patton system is not expected to increase rates, now at $80 per month for combined water and sewer with a 4,000-gallon base rate for residential customers, Bowman said.

Action on the authority’s request by the river commission is expected come Dec. 14. If all goes as planned, Bowman said, the new system should be in operation within a year.

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
  • 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

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos


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