Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced completion of a new $2.179 million water line for residents in the Villages of Stockton #6 and #8 in Hazle Township, Luzerne County.
The 2-mile line now connects 43 village homes to the main water line of the Hazleton City Authority public water system which currently serves the City of Hazleton and surrounding communities.
The water line was made possible by PA Infrastructure Investment Authority funding.
“DEP’s effort to work with the local community to complete this new water line will serve these residents well and I appreciate the work done by all involved to ensure clean water will be available,” Gov. Wolf said.
“One of the missions of the department is to ensure safe water for citizens of the Commonwealth and this new water line helps accomplish that,” said DEP Northeast Regional Director Mike Bedrin. “When the department determined the old system was no longer sustainable, we teamed up with other state and local agencies to make sure residents were able to get a resources that we all deserve.”
The line is the culmination of two years’ worth of planning and work by the department, the HCA, and others to remove residents from an old and unpermitted public water system that did not meet standards set forth by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDA) and had no responsible party operating it.
In July of 2014, the department issued a precautionary warning to both villages to not use water from the old system for consumption because it was not being properly treated and there was presence of some microbiological contaminants such as E. coli bacteria, giardia and other organisms that could be harmful to human health.
The water system also did not have a state-mandated treatment system as set forth in the SDA.
That order prompted staff from the department’s Safe Drinking Water Program to begin working with the HCA, Hazleton City, Hazle Township Supervisors, the Department of Transportation, Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) to find other suitable options.
In April of 2015, PennVEST approved grant money from the Infrastructure Grant Program for construction of the line.
Work on the new system began in September of 2015 with Nittany Engineering out of Centre Hall designing, Schumacher Engineering, Inc. of Hazleton inspecting the line and James T. O’Hara Excavating, Inc. of Moscow, PA as the contractor for construction.The old water lines serving the villages were capped by the HCA in August. The village residents are now served by the HCA.