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Quincy officials shopping for water deal for 100 homes

November 11, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. -- Three years have passed since a group of homes in Quincy Township were found to have contaminated wells and officials said Tuesday it could take another few years to fix the problem.

The Quincy Township Board of Supervisors met Tuesday evening with the Washington Township Municipal Authority and representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to discuss connecting 100 homes to Washington Township's public water system.

DEP found trichloroethylene (TCE) at levels ranging from trace to amounts to 31 parts per billion during testing in October 2006, Quincy Township Supervisor Bob Gunder said previously.

TCE can cause a number of health problems when ingested, inhaled or contacted by skin. Many homes in the area have been restricted to bottled water use for the last two years.

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The Hazardous Sites Cleanup program of DEP issued a Notice of Proposed Remedial Response in late July, suggesting that the only way to fully eradicate the TCE problem in the township is to move residents to a public water system and abandon all affected wells.

Quincy Township Supervisor Kerry Bumbaugh said the township is "shopping around" for the best possible means and cost of obtaining public water.

Engineer Ronald J. Horton of Rural Engineering and Community Assistance, Inc. in Gettysburg, Pa., evaluated DEP's notice and said Quincy has three options -- the Borough of Waynesboro, Washington Township and the Borough of Mont Alto -- which could all be a source of public water for the contaminated homes.

John Krueger, program manager for DEP's Environmental Cleanup Program, said the state agency will shoulder the estimated $2.9 million cost of connecting to public water.

While DEP will pay for the initial cost of connecting the homes to safe water, Quincy officials questioned why it would not receive a special rate from WTMA.

"Quincy would be treated no differently than any commercial customer in Washington Township," said WTMA Manager Sean McFarland. Cutting Quincy a discount on rates would be unfair to other customers, he said.

Commercial customers are charged $7.92 per thousand gallons for the first 5,000 gallons of water and $5.06 for every thousand gallons thereafter. Tapping fees for commercial customers are $1,940 for capacity and $2,136 for distribution of each equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) estimated at 165.1 gallons per day.

Even if Quincy and WTMA had decided to move forward Tuesday, Krueger said the earliest the project could begin was fall 2010.

DEP cannot move forward on the issue until the public comment period for its administrative record closes on Dec. 15, he said.

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