North Huntingdon residents want to stop using water wells

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Tucked about two miles back from North Huntingdon's bustling Route 30, there is a cluster of quaint homes that still pump electric wells to bring underground water into their kitchens and bathrooms.

Over the past 10 years, though, neighbors said they have noticed their water supply drop off.

Residents there have begun a campaign to push township commissioners for a connection to the water-line system.

“The board (and I) stated that the township cannot use general fund money to directly benefit a handful of property owners who need a water line,” John Shepherd, township manager said in an email. “However, we will work on potential grant opportunities and discuss this project with the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County to see if there is any way to complete the project.”

Nancy and Dan Buri have lived in their two-story home on Ipnar Road for more than 20 years.

“People on Ipnar Road, we need water and fire protection,” Nancy Buri said. “We feel the township should provide a municipal main water line.”

The couple said there haven't been problems with the 35-year-old well until recently, when they noticed they were getting only about 25 gallons of water per day.

On average, one person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“We use it judiciously,” Dan Buri said.

Because the well is electric, the couple cannot pump water into their home if the power is out, he said.

They also have to be conservative and cannot do a load of laundry, take a shower or run the dishwater simultaneously.

“We've been pushing (for a connection) for years,” Dan Buri said. “We are interested in having the same benefits as someone else.”

It is unclear how many people in the township use well systems.

About 12,400 homes and businesses are on the main water-line system, according to the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

In order to get a connection to the main water-line system, residents would need to contact the engineering department of Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County to confirm a water-line extension is feasible.

“If a water main extension is required and the cost is manageable, they may elect to pay for the project out-of-pocket,” said Curt Fontaine, operations manager of the engineering department for the municipal authority.

“On the other hand, if the project is too costly to be self-funded, they may contact their municipal officials to determine if grants and/or low-interest loans may be available to them.”

The cost to extend a water line along a municipal-owned roadway is about $65 per foot and $75 per foot along state-owned roadways, Fontaine said.

That means the project to connect homes on Ipnar Road could start at about $30,000.

The cost varies depending on the type and size of the pipe required, the topography and geology of the area and the public bid process, he said.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.

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