CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the county’s 2021 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application.
The county’s CDBG allocation is $274,568, of which $225,146 will assist the Westover Municipal Authority with water improvements. The other $49,422 will go towards administration of the grant.
Lisa Kovalick, Redevelopment Authority director, said WMA has undertaken a $498,151 project, using these funds as well as others from ARC ($158,614); DEP PES ($51,710); and WMA ($62,681).
Currently, she said WMA has a single supply source and a small water filtration plant, which filters reservoir water on Rogues Harbor Run.
She said Rogues Harbor Run is a pristine water source in terms of water quality and is classified as an “exceptional value” (EV) stream, or the highest water quality stream in Pennsylvania.
Kovalick said the threats to the water source are limited due to forested land, but continual droughts and storms do have an impact on the stream.
She noted that Rogues Harbor Run is a natural reproducing trout stream that flows into Chest Creek, another natural reproducing and stocked trout stream.
“The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission requires that a minimum flow of water must be maintained in Rogues Harbor Run to maintain quality downstream,” Kovalick explained.
“During drought and low-flow conditions or periods of high demand, it doesn’t produce enough water to meet the community’s water needs and F&BC pass-by flow requirements.
“Since Rogues Harbor Run is the only source of supply, there currently aren’t any options available other than instituting severe water restrictions, or violating pass-by flow permit conditions.”
Kovalick went on to say that: “additional sources of supply are needed to reduce or lower daily withdrawals from Rogues Harbor Run during low-flow periods.”
Rogues Harbor Run is surface water, she said, and therefore high in organic material and when waters – high in organic compounds – are treated with Chlorine, Disinfection By-products form.
Specific Disinfection By-products include Halo-acetic Acids (HAA5) and Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM). HAA5s and TTHMs are associated with an elevated risk of cancer.
“Thus, the EPA/DEP requires all water systems to regularly monitor for those compounds,” Kovalick said. “Drinking water with high levels of these compounds violate the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“An alternative source of water that is low in organic compounds (well water) is needed to blend with the Rogues Harbor Run water to lower the overall DBP’s levels.”
Kovalick said developing well water as another source will address current water conditions but is still expected to require pre-treatment before being blended into the existing water system.
Also, the existing membrane tubes will need updated with the added well flow. Other water treatment plant upgrades include overall system controls and monitoring equipment.
With these upgrades, Kovalick said, the system operator will be notified of issues in real-time. She said the overall system controller is outdated and not supported by the manufacturer.
The new controls will also have the ability to generate the operational reports necessary to comply with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Consent Order.
“WMA’s water mains and most customer service lines are 50- to 60-plus years old,” Kovalick said, “and thus are prone to breakage or leaks. WMA’s leakage rate … has an average of 52 percent.
“That’s well above the industry standard of 15-20 percent.” While water loss can be attributed to breaks or leaks, it’s also related to inadequate metering of water flows and delayed plant response.
WMA has been in the process of replacing customer water meters over the past year, Kovalick said, and working to reduce the loss or unaccounted-for water.
She said DEP has mandated that these primary issues as well as other minor concerns be corrected by WMA, and entered into a consent order and agreement with WMA.
The order was originally dated June of 2020, and since WMA has been responsive and cooperative, Kovalick said DEP revised it in February, July and more recently in October.
With this CDBG funding and assistance from DEP PES, Kovalick said WMA and its engineer, JHA Associates, is working to identify solutions to the issues raised in the consent order.
The DEP PES program also includes professional geological services, which has identified two potential well sites near the WMA water treatment plant.
The program will complete engineering design and bidding for drilling of two potential test well sites, then conduct initial water quality and quantity testing.
“The most-promising well site will be developed to a production well and used as an additional water source,” Kovalick said, “which is badly needed by the community.”
She said the existing water treatment plant will require upgrades and improvements to properly treat the new well water and blend it with the existing reservoir water from Rogues Harbor Run.
Improvements include replacement of the existing old membrane filters, installation of additional bank of filters, piping and valves, water meters, controllers, sensors, etc.
Kovalick said the well water will be blended with the reservoir water to create a new water source to address two issues included in the consent order.
The plant’s controller, electronic supervisory and records/alarms systems will be updated to adapt to the new processes and allow for more timely control and response to unusual events.
Kovalick said the new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems have proven to be an invaluable tool to utility operators wanting to closely monitor and remotely control operations.
“The control updates will allow for accurate monitoring of water flows as required in the consent order,” she said, as well as generate operating reports that are also needed for compliance.
The commissioners also approved CDBG grant applications on behalf of Clearfield Borough and Lawrence Township at the request of Kovalick.
Kovalick said Clearfield Borough’s allocation totaled $117,280, of which $96,170 will be utilized for spot blight demolition in the Third Ward area.
Lawrence Township’s allocation totaled $133,150, of which $109,183 will be utilized for storm-sewer and street improvements in the Kerr area.
More specifically, funds will address stormwater/roadway flooding issues on Bowmans Hill Road. The project will provide for the health and safety of residents.