Public hearing scheduled for Ferguson Township source water protection ordinance

The Ferguson Township supervisors are considering an ordinance that aims to protect source water.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents and the ecosystems of the township, provide protections for sources of public drinking water supplies, and safeguard the future supply of safe and sustaining drinking water,” the proposed ordinance states.

It would do so by establishing the source water protection overlay district, which for the purposes of the proposed ordinance includes the township in its entirety.

“The source water protection overlay district is going to hopefully help protect groundwater,” said Ray Stolinas, the township’s planning and zoning director.

The proposed ordinance also includes different zones of protection.

Zone I is the protective zone immediately surrounding a well, spring or infiltration gallery. It has between a 100- and 400-foot radius, according to the proposed ordinance. Various land uses are not permitted in this zone.

The primary wells in Ferguson Township with the Zone I designation are State College Borough Water Authority and Rock Springs Water Co. wells, Stolinas said.

The Zone II designation encompasses a portion of the aquifer through which water is diverted to a well or flows to a spring or infiltration gallery, and the designation is a  1/2-mile radius around the source, according to the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance also looks at minimizing risk from different types of regulated substances, hazardous material and certain land uses that go hand in hand with that, he said.

If there’s an existing land use, those operators will need to fill out a facility profile sheet that provides the township with information like, among other things, what type of activity is happening at the site and what regulated substances are on-site, Stolinas said.

That would allow the township to create a database so that if there’s a leak or contamination within zones I or II, the township will have a good indication of where a certain substance might be coming from, he said.

Stolinas said one of the keys of the ordinance is to protect groundwater from those types of accidents.

A public hearing for the ordinance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Ferguson Township Building, 3147 Research Drive.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz