Pa. DEP issues emergency water supply permit to Bear Valley Authority

In response to a request from Bear Valley Joint Authority, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a new emergency public water supply permit authorizing the authority to use existing filtration facilities temporarily while work on new drinking water source and filtration plant continues in Franklin County...

HARRISBURG, PA, Oct. 20, 2008 -- In response to a request from Bear Valley Joint Authority, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a new emergency public water supply permit authorizing the authority to use existing filtration facilities temporarily while work on new drinking water source and filtration plant continues in Franklin County.

"The emergency permit was issued to ensure an adequate supply of drinkable water was available to Bear Valley customers while the authority, its engineers and equipment manufacturer work to complete installation of a new filtration facility," said DEP Southcentral Regional Director Rachel Diamond.

Because of the Bear Valley Joint Authority's inability to meet its maximum daily demand of approximately 2 million gallons, the company agreed to a moratorium on new service connections under the terms of a 2004 consent order and agreement with the department. The authority serves 4,000 customers in Hamilton, Peters and Saint Thomas townships.

To meet the daily demand of its customers, Bear Valley has been purchasing an additional 250,000 gallons of water per day from Chambersburg Borough, while developing a new source well and completing the construction of a replacement filtration plant on Broad Run. Bear Valley has purchased the land rights for the new well, but has yet to bring it into service.

In December, DEP recognized Bear Valley's strides to increase its source capacity in a new consent order and agreement and lifted the moratorium, allowing an additional 450 new connections over three years, provided the authority continues to make progress. The revenue generated from the new connections will help the authority pay for the required upgrades.

"Although Bear Valley has made progress in some areas, it continues to lag behind in others," said Diamond. "The authority had originally committed to having the new filtration plant operational by March, but it has been unable to meet even revised deadlines."

The existing plant has been operating at 125 percent of its designed capacity since 2004. The new emergency permit expires in January.

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