COLLEGE TOWNSHIP — In an effort to protect water in public wells, the township has drafted a new ordinance to prohibit certain land uses near those wells.
Planner Mark Holdren presented the draft to the College Township Planning Commission on Tuesday night, and the six members present forwarded it to Township Council after offering their comments.
Manager Adam Brumbaugh, who also manages the College Township Water Authority, said it worked with the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop a plan last year for source water protection, which offers recommendations for protecting community water.
From that came the recommendation to create a radius of protection around public wells, resulting in the new ordinance.
It does make sense to control things happening within close proximity to the actual wellhead, Brumbaugh said.
The ordinance creates an overlay district prohibiting and limiting land uses within 400 feet of township wells, as well as State College Borough Water Authority wells that exist in the township.
Those are the Rogers well near Shiloh and Trout roads, the Spring Creek well near Puddintown Road and Balmoral Way, the Oak Hall well being studied on the site of a new regional park near the Harris Township line, and three authority wells along West Branch Road.
The township also will keep a 400-foot radius on its side of the boundary with Harris Township, further along West Branch Road, where three Harris wellheads are located.
Holdren said, as far as he knows, Harris and other municipalities do not have similar ordinances.
The townships draft prohibits land uses including cemeteries, vehicle service stations and wrecking or junkyard establishments, dry cleaning, mining and landfills. It limits storage of manure and fertilizers, parking lots, and stormwater facilities.
Commission Chairman Ray Forziat asked if any private wells will be in conflict with the new overlay, and Holdren said he would check on that before Township Council receives the ordinance.
Anything in existence is non-conforming and would be able to remain, he said. They would be allowed a certain amount of expansion.
However, if a well ran dry, it would have to relocate outside the radius.
I think its a good idea, Commissioner George Khoury said of the ordinance.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter