MANSFIELD - The Betterment Organization of Mansfield heard from borough Manager Ed Grala Thursday about the dire water situation the borough and surrounding area is facing.
According to Grala, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission recently ordered one of the borough's water sources to be shut down because it didn't meet a "pass-by" flow requirement because of the dry weather.
"There is a shortage of water, particularly in a drought situation, which we are verging on," Grala said.
A 120,000 gallons-per-day spring recently went dry, so the borough had to go to one of the (Lamb's Creek) reservoirs, "which is the equivalent of pond water," he said.
The reservoir water requires more treatment with more chemicals and "doesn't taste good," Grala added.
He mentioned two other wells, one of which was taken offline by SRBC because it directly affects the stream next to it, and an artesian well that dried up the spring in 12 hours when they tested it, Grala said.
The municipal water authority retained Moody and Associates' hydrologists to locate more water sources, which was "not very fruitful."
"One location identified was on Army Corps property, surface water (that) would need to be treated and meet the pass-by requirements, and a system set up to monitor the stream," Grala said. "And, it could be cut off at a certain point."
Access to the location also is an issue, requiring a bridge project, "and it's a lot of dollars," he said.
The only other potential locations are on the Trask family property south of town. Grala said Ed Trask told him he felt it would interfere with his housing development project.
Mansfield University was approached in light of a new water treatment facility it is putting in, but "they also are running into difficulty" getting enough water from the Corey Creek Watershed, Grala said.
"The thought is now we will have to reach out further to get water and then cost effectiveness comes in," he added.
The directors also heard from a representative of United Country Realty, which has a parcel of land near Cox's Harley Davidson under contract to a company that wants to build on the lot and bring in 125 natural gas-related industry jobs.
However, because the company's insurance company requires it to hook into a municipal water supply for fire protection only, it is at a standstill. SRBC has said the municipal authority is not allowed to issue any more new water tap-ins for the time being.
The company could try drilling a well for its drinking water supply, as a new Dunkin' Donuts restaurant is doing closer to town.
The board agreed to support the company's efforts to get water in writing and suggested it try reapplying for a tap-in, with the stipulation the municipal water would be used only in an emergency.
In other business, the board set up a committee to examine accepting a $1,500 PA Wilds grant to go toward replacing the north entrance's "Welcome to Mansfield" sign, which was destroyed in a thunderstorm a few weeks ago. The board also will consider replacing the other three signs at all of the entrances to the borough.