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State EPA says borough water safe to drink

June 30, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - The 1,000 customers of the McConnellsburg Municipal Borough Water Authority can rest easy; their water is safe to drink, a state Environmental Protection Agency official said this week.

Tests have shown nearly undetectable levels of contaminants in the spring- and well-fed system, said authority member Mahlon Shimer.

Last winter, Kenneth Glazier, a dairy farmer whose 164-cow operation is just south of the borough, said he lost 12 calves and 13 cows in 1997 and 1998. He blamed water contaminated with cleaning chemicals from Secrist Spring, which feeds not only his farm but is one of about a dozen springs supplying the borough's water system.

Extensive tests this spring by the EPA proved that contaminants found in the Secrist Spring water were below the levels that would be harmful to humans.

Shimer said all of the borough's water sources are in compliance with state and federal standards.

"All of the testing was OK," he said. "There were no bad samples at any of the induction points. The water is safe to drink. We've been saying that right along."

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Water is piped to collection points from the series of springs that feed the system, then pumped into storage tanks, Shimer said. The water is chlorinated at the springs before it enters the system.

EPA officials are recommending a filtration system for some springs, but the borough will find new sources before paying out the kind of money such a system would cost, Shimer said.

Filtering the entire system could come to nearly $1 million, he said. "There's no way 1,000 customers could afford that."

Test wells will be dug in July in an attempt to find new sources of water for the borough. "We have other options, too," Shimer said.

In related news, Shimer said restrictions on water use by borough customers will be put into effect if little or no rain falls in the next three to four weeks.

"We're checking the water levels in the wells twice a day," he said. "We're not experiencing anything real serious yet, but if we don't get rain soon, we'll have to tell people not to water lawns or wash cars."

Similar restrictions were in place last winter when water levels dropped below normal.

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