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Fairfield residents voice concerns about water usage

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Looking for answers to the many questions about the future of the public water issue coming down along Route 271 and how it will affect their particular residential neighborhood, several residents attended last Thursday's Fairfield Township supervisors' meeting to make their voices heard.

Rudder Road resident Don Howard engaged in a heated discussion with supervisors about his continued use of his well water and the financial impact of the monthly surcharge fee combined with the monthly water fee that would cost him nearly $100 a month. Howard pointed his hand straight up at one point in his comments and reminded everyone present that “my water comes from above.”

Rudder Road resident Carl Howard was then quick to ask supervisors “can I still use my well water for my garden” near my mobile home?

You can continue to use your well to wash your car, water your garden and flowers, however, you must cap it off at your dwelling.” said Chairman Tantlinger said “No well water can come into your home once you have begun receiving public water.”

Proposed public water usage has become a bane of existence for many Fairfield Township residents who have long relied on their wells for their water needs and their use of their septic tanks for their sewage.

Change comes hard to these residents. The pros on the issue usually come from individuals just moving into the area and look forward to public water and, one day, possibly public sewage, as the way of modernization in country living.

Residents are reminded that their fire insurance coverage costs would decline due to unlimited water access and hydrants for fighting home fires in their area. Unfortunately, for many residents, the payoff just hasn't added up to anything more than an outlay of tap-in costs and approximately $1,200 a year for water that they have been receiving freely underground for decades.

Councilman Altimus and Chairman Tantlinger urged residents to remain calm as nothing has been decided to date.

A letter is going to be prepared, along with a survey of the projected area, and sent out to residents in that area according to tax rolls. The letter will be a combined effort of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, the Fairfield Township Supervisors and the township's Solicitor Jeff Miller Esq.

The “project specific” area covers 75 dwellings that make up 111 actual lots. It is yet to be determined if the final costs would be based on the actual dwellings figure or for the lot numbers recorded on the tax rolls.

In other business:

• The supervisors unanimously agreed to fill the unexpired term on the Tri-County Sewage Authority's West Bolivar representation with Cecilia Sisitski.

Alice White is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.