DUBOIS – The Sandy Township board of supervisors this week heard from Aqua PA Manager Zack Martin as well as several public complaints.
Martin reported that the fire hydrant installation project in Treasure Lake is moving along, and expected to be finished in the coming weeks.
Additionally, he said in the second quarter of 2022, Aqua has invested $43 million into the water system. Another $21 million was invested into the wastewater systems.
As of Monday night, Martin said 53 of the 90 miles of piping in Treasure Lake had been replaced, and in the process included 27 miles of road replacement.
Martin explained the effect of that $64 million on Treasure Lake’s water and sewer rates was partially due to how the Pennsylvania Utility Commission allows rate increases for Aqua.
Increases can only be justified after funds are spent, he said, noting that rates can’t be increased ahead of time to build up funds before a project starts.
So far as rates, Martin said water could increase from $4 to $17 per month while sewage could see an increase from $20 to $30 per month.
The supervisors also heard several public complaints. One resident complained that the chlorine level is so high that he doesn’t want to give his dog tap water, and that Aqua’s bill had doubled.
Other residents complained that there was a bad odor to their water, which makes it too embarrassing to invite company over to visit their home.
A woman who spoke up during the meeting was reluctant but wanted to be heard by a person, and not by a call center in South Carolina.
She said in all her attempts to speak with an Aqua rep, she visited their office, located on Beaver Drive, three times in one week, only to find no one there.
The woman complained of water discoloration, saying bathwater was almost tea-colored at times following recent waterline work.
“This is like Flint photos,” she said, “sometimes, they come to the house and say it’s my pipes, or that it’s just me,” leaving her to consider the possibility of a private filtration system.
But she isn’t sure that she could afford such a system for her home, and so Martin requested her address to see what more could be done to assist her.
Martin said he wasn’t sure why no one was at the local office the day she visited but thought perhaps it was COVID-related. He encouraged residents to contact Aqua via its general customer service number.
When asked if there was no local number, Martin said the customer service line, which was based in Philadelphia, was better able to track reported issues.