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Officials taking wait-and-see approach with water supplies in Pa. townships

January 20, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Rain and melting snow have raised the water levels in the wells and springs that supply Greencastle's public water system, but residents still must boil their water and conserve its use.

In Waynesboro, officials said the recent rains and snow melt raised the level of the 150-million-gallon impoundment pond on South Mountain that feeds their public water system, but not enough for the water to reach the top of the overflow dam.

Leiter Pryor, director of borough utilities for Waynesboro, said Tuesday the recent rains mean Waynesboro's 12,000 customers won't have to cut back on their water use by 10 percent, a possibility that was being considered in case the level in an impoundment pond that feeds the system were to drop to 12 feet below the dam.

The borough's water supply comes from the east branch of Antietam Creek and Rattlesnake Run, both of which run into the impoundment pond.

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Pryor said on Jan. 1 the level in the pond had dropped to 11 feet, four inches below the spillway, before the rain and snow melt.

"All that runoff helped us," he said.

Water from the impoundment pond flows back into the east branch, then into a 5.5-million-gallon settling basin, then to the treatment plant.

The Pennsylvania Fish Commission requires that the borough maintain the creek at a certain level below the plant. That contributed to the low levels in the impoundment pond.

Greencastle officials said the boiling order and use restrictions would remain in effect until they're sure the levels in the springs and wells stay up.

"We've seen some improvement," Borough Manager Kenneth E. Myers said. "The levels are up, but we're still not sure if it's going to be permanent."

He said the levels rose following earlier rains but dropped again a few days later. The ground water level has to come up to keep the wells operating effectively, he said.

"We're taking a wait-and-see approach," Myers said.

The borough was given permission to hook up to Ebberts Spring during the current drought. At one time, the spring was part of the public system, but it hasn't been used in years.

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