Lock Haven approves emergency water source after declaring Stage II Drought
Lock Haven’s City Council is applying for emergency permits to temporarily install line work from two water wells as part of its plan to implement an emergency water supply.
The council held a special meeting Monday night to discuss plans and get public input. The announcement comes less than two weeks after the city declared a Stage II Drought Emergency on Oct. 13.
City Manager Greg Wilson said the wells were built as a backup water system for when the city does repairs on Keller Dam, which needs work to make it compliant with new DEP standards.
“So I wouldn't say it's great fortune, but it is certainly advantageous that the wells are groundwater wells, and able to potentially be brought online so that we don't have to draw water from the river,” Wilson said.
The emergency permits will allow the city to build a water line across a creek, something that isn’t allowed permanently. That’s why line work will have to be redone in the future, but Wilson says the materials themselves will be reused.
Jim Balliet is the secretary of the board of directors for Gwin, Dobson and Foreman, the engineering firm hired by the city to develop the plan for the emergency water supply. Balliet said if it does not rain, the city’s water storage has about a month and a half left.
“When I say a month and a half, it scares me. But the only way we can do this in a month and a half is through emergency permits and temporary installation,” Balliet said.
Balliet said the wells should provide about 1.4 million gallons of water per day. He said the city currently uses about 3 million on average: 500,000 of which is lost through leaks.
The city is applying to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority for a loan to cover the costs of the emergency project. The firm’s early estimates for the project are around $1 million.
Under the drought emergency declaration, Lock Haven water customers are asked to reduce usage by 20%. Customers are also prohibited from non-essential water use.
Clinton County is one of 15 counties in the state under a drought watch or warning.