New rules would increase Washington Township water supply protections

March 28, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — New regulations being developed in Washington Township, Pa., would put greater protections in place for the municipal water supply.

The ordinances being considered for adoption would regulate geothermal systems, as well as activities near wellheads.

If passed by the five township supervisors, one of two ordinances currently in draft form would establish standards for construction of geothermal heating systems for residential, institutional, commercial and industrial uses.

The ordinance seeks to minimize the potential for damage to natural resources through safe and efficient systems that use modern technology.

The other ordinance would establish “zones” around public water sources, restricting activities, mainly those that involve chemicals, in those zones.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has its own restrictions for areas around public water sources, but township officials want to have their own regulations on the books, Supervisor Elaine Gladhill said Wednesday.


One problem with establishing the zones involves creating the corresponding maps, Gladhill said. Federal guidelines seek to restrict public knowledge of where public wells are for safety, she said.

The Washington Township Municipal Authority developed the ordinances, which will be further reviewed by the township planning commission before a vote by the supervisors.

In other business at the supervisors’ Wednesday meeting, Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher and the board members discussed gathering more information about converting their fleet of vehicles to natural gas.

The township might be able to submit grant applications in partnership with the borough of Waynesboro to make the conversion, Christopher said. They would be required to have a filling station, he said.

All of the municipal dump trucks would be affected, he said.

Municipal leaders plan to meet next week with experts who can provide more information about the possible conversion.

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