No one knows why Tomstown (Pa.) pump is dry

Some homeowners believe water table is low because of drought

January 25, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • A handmade sign hangs Tuesday from the Tomstown, Pa., pump. It has been dry for months, and Quincy Township Supervisor Bob Gunder said no one is exactly sure why.
By Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

QUINCY, Pa. — For months, the Tomstown (Pa.) pump has been dry, and Quincy Township Supervisor Bob Gunder said no one is exactly sure why.

The pump, which people use to fill containers for drinking and cooking, is connected to a spring three-quarters of a mile away. Gunder said a half-dozen homes are connected to the same private line.

"It's low (water pressure) for them, but they're still using it," Gunder said this week, after speaking to some of the property owners.

Those homeowners believe the water table is low because of a drought that started last May, Gunder said.

"The pump dates back to the early 1900s, if not the late 1800s," Gunder said.

The pump was originally a wooden structure in the middle of the intersection, he said.

Gunder said he'd like a nonprofit organization or similar group to restore the pump and move it to the other side of the road, where he said it would not affect motorists' line of sight as much. He said the supervisors cannot do the work because the pump is on a private line.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation statistics show 5,900 vehicles cross the area daily.

The pump's water tested negative for trichloroethylene, unlike some wells in the area. Gunder said he believes the spring water is acceptably clean for human consumption.

"It's probably better now than it ever was because there's public sewer there," he said, noting that those lines prevent ground-level discharge into the water system.

The pump is at the intersection of Tomstown and Mentzer Gap roads in front of Blue Rock United Brethren Church.

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