Preliminary action to address the Ligonier Township Reservoir spillway capacity was discussed at Wednesday’s Ligonier Township Municipal Authority (LTMA) meeting.

Water system engineer Jake Bolby, of the EADS Group, said the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provided comments — in its dam inspection review letter — to the authority regarding the reservoir’s spillway capacity.

“The spillway capacity, based on (DEP’s) recent assessment (in 2011), demonstrated that it was slightly undersized for their new sizing criteria,” Bolby said.

The current spillway provides 55% of the DEP required capacity, according to Bolby’s report.

LTMA officials are considering several options to address the spillway capacity, among them drilling a new well in which the existing dam would be abandoned and the stream restored. Bolby’s report shows that a new groundwater source would then be developed to offset water needs.

The authority will consider spending $2,400 for the identification of test well sites.

“That $2,400 would be to determine whether or not a well was viable, and then picking a location and having a better cost-estimate at the end of the day,” Bolby explained.

The LTMA has until next May to submit its plan to the DEP addressing the spillway capacity.

Though the authority has yet to settle on one of the options to address the issue, Bolby said, “They are trying to do some of the preliminary work that would be required to make the best decision.”

In other business, the LTMA approved a resolution “authorizing the solicitor within the coming year…to utilize the authority’s eminent domain power to acquire rights of way,” explained solicitor Dan Hudock. The authority won’t make immediate use of the resolution, Hudock told the Bulletin , adding that it allows the LTMA “to use that power if they need to” for future projects.

The resolution was approved amid discussion of plans for a new water storage tank near Idlewild Park — a major component of the authority’s planned water system improvements intended to manage water pressure throughout the LTMA system, reducing pressure in low-lying areas prone to leaks and increasing it at higher elevations.

Bolby noted a general location for the tank has been selected near Clark Hollow Road.

“They (LTMA) are in the property negationation phase for the tank site,” Bolby said. “...They are working with the property owners to obtain the rights of way. They need those rights prior to going for permits to install (the tank).” The LTMA is looking to obtain those rights of way “in the next couple of months,” Bolby says, without having to utilizing the authority’s eminent domain power.

In other news, the authority anticipates hearing back from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) in September regarding the $2 million in H2O PA funding the LTMA applied for to replace water lines and meters that are approaching the end of their useful life.

The H2O PA grant would allow the authority to replace roughly 1,600 water meters with newer models that would help quickly alert the authority and customers to in-home leaks. With current meters, abnormally high usage isn’t noticed until bills are compiled and distributed to customers. With new meters, the authority and customers would be alerted when the meter has been running continuously for 24 hours straight, signifying a leak at some point after the meter.

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