Rain brings brief relief

October 01, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The more than 3 inches of rain that fell in the area last week helped, but not enough for the restrictions that have been in place since early summer to be lifted, local officials in Franklin County, Pa., said Monday.

The rain did allow the Washington Township Supervisors to end their ban against outside burning Friday.

The rain on Thursday and Friday dampened the ground enough to lower the brush fire danger, Township Administrator Michael Christopher said. "We consulted with both fire departments and the water authority," he said.

The burn ban had been in effect since Sept. 16, he said.

"We had a decent rain last week. Some people have stored up stuff they need to burn," he said.

The rain boosted the level at the Borough of Waynesboro's reservoir by nearly 11/2 feet, said S. Leiter Pryor, head of the borough's water company. The level is still about 5 feet below the spillway, he said.


"It's no time to let our guard down. We have to keep the restrictions (on water use) in place," Pryor said.

The water department spent about $10,000 to have a well drilled for the system at the Waynesboro Fish and Game Club, but it didn't come in as expected, he said.

"We figured we'd get 250 gallons a minute, but it only pumped about 30 gallons," Pryor said. The well was donated to the Fish and Game Club, he said.

The Washington Township Authority had better luck, said Gene Barnhart, head of that utility. The authority drilled a well off Old Forge Road that is producing at 250 gallons a minute, Barnhart said.

He said he's seen little impact yet from last week's rains except for at one of the township's seven water sources. "One well showed an increase in flow of about 4 feet," he said. The other six springs and wells that feed the system have shown no improvement, he said.

They aren't excited about the rainfall in Greencastle, Pa., either, according to Borough Manager Kenneth Myers.

"It helped to raise the water table at least temporarily," Myers said. "We expect it will drop back to where it was if we don't get more rain. It had no long-term effect. We're still far behind."

The state of Pennsylvania has a drought warning in effect in Franklin County and in more than 20 other counties. The warning calls for users to cut water consumption by 15 percent.

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