Water authority to tap into alert system
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County is preparing to implement an automated public notification system that would alert residents when there is a threat to their drinking water supplies.
The notification process, which authority Manager Chris Kerr estimates could cost about $100,000 annually, will be required by the state Department of Environmental Protection for all public water suppliers.
Gov. Ed Rendell directed the agency to improve notification procedures after a December 2005 fluoride spill at a York County treatment plant caused elevated levels in the water supply, but a "do not consume" advisory was not released to the media for almost two hours.
The acceptable notification systems include an automatic dialer that would call all customers in an affected region to deliver a recorded message.
Although the system could have some other benefits, Kerr called it an "unfunded mandate" imposed on the authority without requisite funds.
"There's no other way to recover costs but our rate base," he said Thursday.
Authority officials have been working with the Pennsylvania Rural Water Association to learn more about the system, said Joe Hohman, president of Resource Development and Management Inc., the authority's private manager.
Association officials are recommending that authorities choose a New Jersey company, Swiftreach, to set up their systems.
The Hampton Township Municipal Authority in Allegheny County decided Wednesday night to contract with Swiftreach, manager Sam Scarfone said.
Officials are working toward a January implementation for that system, he said.
"We wanted to get on board quickly," said Scarfone, a Pennsylvania Rural Water Association officer. "We believe it's going to catch on."
DEP officials are finalizing the parameters for the notification process.
An agency spokesman did not return a message yesterday requesting comment.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Mt. Pleasant man charged with unlawful restraint
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- Unity name excised from Latrobe parks, recreation
- Sewickley Twp. to pay $10K for service breach