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City enters sales agreement for supplemental water wells

LOCK HAVEN — Another step was taken recently in the city’s multi-year reservoir improvement project.

City council entered into a sales agreement which, if requirements are met, would see the city purchase one of its first of two supplemental water wells in Wayne Township.

The city is looking into the purchase of these wells to use when Keller Reservoir in Zindel Park is drained during the reconstruction of its spillway, City Manager Gregory Wilson said.

The first well, which a geologist has already explored, is situated on 9.1 acres of land at a cost of $200,000.

Wilson noted that the sale would only go through if the city drills successfully into the well and receives the required permits from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“If the city is unable to, it would be remediated and never obtained,” he said.

Wilson said the city is certain quality water is located in these wells.

“There is exceptionally high quality water but it’s a very slim amount of geology you have to drill precisely through to access it,” he said.

The water’s quality is important to reduce the amount of filtration it will need before being funneled to city residents and water authority customers.

“These high producing, high quality water wells will have a generational impact on the ability of the city to provide clean water,” Wilson said.

He noted that the wells will be used long after the reservoir improvements are made.

“You’ll notice that in the drought this year not having a supplemental source of water became a very large issue for us so it does have an impact there,” he said. “So they do have great value, not just for the construction project but for the long run for the water system.”

If drilling for the well is successful, and DEP provides permits for its use, Wilson said a pipeline will be bored into the ground to the city’s water filtration plant.

“There will be minimal disturbance at ground level, most of it will take place below ground,” Wilson said. He added that the city chose a path that would cause the least amount of environmental impact.

The second proposed well is still in negotiation.

Councilman Richard Morris expressed his concern with the cost of the property.

“It is more than twice the going rate for agricultural land in Wayne Township. If you were to reimburse the owner for his loss of profit for working that ground then we’d be reimbursing him for 72 years,” he said.

Councilwoman Barbara Masorti echoed Morris’s concern.

“I think it is a lot of money and I think it’s going to set the stage for what the other parcel’s going to cost,” she said.

The supplemental water wells are an early part of the city’s multi-year plan to update both its dams — Ohl Reservoir in Loganton and Keller Reservoir in Wayne Township — to meet DEP requirements.

Council approved entering the agreement unanimously. All members of council were present during Monday night’s meeting held via livestream on the city’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

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