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While the plant worked great for many years, the outdated facility – which was periodically improved – is in need of replacement, said Patton Mayor Steve Bakajza.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

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • District Deaths April 25, 2014

    April 24, 2014

  • GarageA25.JPG Garage collapses in Oakland following Weds. night accident

    No one was hurt when a garage collapsed Thursday afternoon in the Oakland section of Stonycreek Township.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 22, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 22, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 24, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 24, 2014

  • WilliamsA ‘I thought I was going to die’

    Hornerstown resident Robert “Bobby” Williams said he endured two hours of surgery, suffered a heart attack and fears he may never again be able to fully use his right arm.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • JFD traing Firefighters practice river rescues

    Johnstown Fire Department members lift a “victim” out of the rescue basket during training Wednesday along the Stonycreek River flood-control wall

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • sewer meeting map Sewer work will tie up traffic

    Brace yourselves.
    This summer’s sewer main replacement project will delay traffic with detours, closed streets and lane restrictions through one of Johnstown’s notoriously snarled neighborhoods.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • USS Somerset USS Somerset arrives at San Diego homeport

    The USS Somerset is home.
    The amphibious transport dock ship named in honor of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 arrived at its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego on Monday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jablonski, Stephen Charges filed in courthouse bomb threat

    A Johnstown man was charged by Ebensburg Borough police Wednesday with threatening to blow up the Cambria County Courthouse, a call he admitted to Ebensburg police he made Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vizza, Peter Vizza voted deputy mayor

    The top vote-getter in last year’s Johnstown City Council election is now also the city’s deputy mayor.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

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

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads