PATTON TOWNSHIP — While the up-front cost is steep, resident Steve Zappe said he’s interested in learning more about a proposal to bring public water lines to a western part of the township.
Officials held a public meeting Thursday for residents of the Graycairn and Ambleside neighborhoods, through which a water line likely would travel to get to Ridgemont, its final destination.
About two dozen residents attended. Some had questions or concerns — many of which were related to the cost and connection details.
While Zappe doesn’t live right on the proposed line, but on a side street, State College Borough Water Authority Executive Director Max Gill said there’s potential to expand further in the future.
“Our well water is free, but it doesn’t have fluoride, and it’s not maintained to the higher standard,” Zappe said. “We have it tested every six months and it’s fine, but bacteria could get in there, and there’s the potential for the well to go dry.”
Gill said the authority plans to survey residents in that area to gauge interest.
The proposal developed after the Ridgemont Water Association — which operates three small water systems serving 54 homes in the Ridgemont neighborhood, on Harvard Road — this spring asked the township for permission to request a public water line extension.
Bryce Boyer, a township supervisor who lives in the neighborhood and has served as water system administrator, said the system is 50 years old and deteriorating.
“It would take $75,000 to $100,000 put into our original system to make it 100 percent,” he said.
The area also is devoid of fire hydrants because there isn’t enough capacity. Adding fire protection will increase property values and reduce insurance costs, Boyer said.
Residents close to fire hydrants also pay a township assessment each year for maintenance, equal to 7 cents per foot of yard frontage.
Out of three possible line extensions, Gill has proposed the longest, which is estimated to cost $960,000.
That extension would run along Buffalo Run Road/state Route 550 from Deerbrook Drive to Meeks Lane, to Heiskel Drive, along the entire length of Skytop Lane, to North Atherton Street/old U.S. Route 322, and to upper Harvard Road.
About 60 residents along that route could hook up to the new line, but wouldn’t be required to do so. Gill said a connection fee likely would run close to $7,000, with an additional $1,000 to $1,500 to disconnect from the well and connect to the public line.
“What we’re trying to do is, through assistance from the water authority and the township, we’re trying to allow as many people as possible to connect,” Gill said. “We would hope that in 10 years, we get half the homes connected.”
The new line could serve about 150 homes. Gill said installation likely would happen between next spring and fall.
Gill said the authority will fund part of the project, as will Ridgemont, and asked the township supervisors last month for $200,000.
Supervisors were supportive at that time, and Manager Doug Erickson said the Patton Township Water Authority likely can fund at least half that cost.
That authority operated water lines mostly in Toftrees, and sold the lines to the borough authority more than 20 years ago. Erickson said the township authority just operates a tap at the municipal building today for a few residents.
That authority has about $300,000, Erickson said, mostly from the previous sale of water lines.
Erickson expects a township financing decision within four to six weeks, as supervisors consider the latest plan for capital projects.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter@jVanReporter.