Water main break has authority scrambling for emergency plan

No water restrictions needed for dry conditions

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

VALLEY VIEW – A 6” water main break that occurred in the wee hours of the morning Sunday, July 3, had the Hegins-Hubley Water Authority scurrying to come up with an emergency plan during their meeting Monday afternoon at the authority building on Maple Street.
According to Demetrius Kasmari, manager of the authority, a 6’ section of the pipe cracked causing a major leak on West Maple Street in Valley View.
One resident described the break as a geyser of water just shooting up from the ground. She said she was alerted to the break when she awoke to use the bathroom in her Maple Street home.

Kasmari was not in the area at the time of the break and there was difficulty locating someone to shut the water main off. Calls were made to the Schuylkill County Communications System who alerted the fire company but there was nothing they could do to stop it. Eventually Stacy Andracchio, the business manager at the authority was notified and the water was shut off.
Kasmari said crews worked all day Sunday to repair the break and water was restored to the area by that afternoon, but they were in a boil water advisory for 24-hours in the 1400 block of West Maple Street.
Authority member Keith Masser will chair the emergency plan committee. Authority members Kenneth Richter and Tom Miller will also serve on the committee.
“We need to get a plan in place so that someone else is knowledgeable of the system and can take care of these things immediately in the event that Demetrius can’t be reached,” said Clark Romberger, Authority President.
One home did receive water damage to the basement and according to Demetrius, a claim has been filed, but was denied.
The committee is working to have a plan in place by the next authority meeting which has been scheduled for October 31, at 5 p.m. at the authority office on Maple Street.
In other business, Kasmari told the authority board that he received a request from Hegins Valley Fire-Rescue to have a fire hydrant placed on Locust Street, in the area behind the Valley View Church of God.
According to the fire company, when there is a fire on West Mountain Road, the tankers are filled from the fire hydrant on Main Street in the area of the church which then blocks off access to that road for other fire trucks to get to Mountain Road.
Currently there are only three ways that a fire truck get onto Mountain Road. They either have to take Route 25 to West Mountain Road, Route 25 to Church Road to West Mountain Road or Route 25 to Mill Road to West Mountain Road. The fire trucks can’t go over the bridge on Forrest Drive.
Kasmari said he will investigate the matter and get cost estimates. The authority will eventually have to approach Hegins Township Supervisors for approval to place the hydrant.
The authority has announced that new water meter have been installed on 65% of the entire system. Kasmari said there are more new meters in stock and they will begin placing them as well. The goal is to eventually have new meters installed on 100% of the system according to the five-year plan.
The authority is trying to fill a part-time vacant position but isn’t having much luck. A candidate was interviewed but they wanted more hours and more money then the authority was willing to offer.
According to Romberger, the human resources committee will review the job description and determine if they can draw more interest for the position.
During public comment Valley View resident Roger Wetzel asked what the delinquency rate is of the authority customers.
Andracchio said she didn’t have the information readily available, but she would contact him the next day to give him the information.
“Out of all the authorities I serve, this one has a very, very low delinquency rate,” said Paul Datte, authority solicitor.
Wetzel also asked what the procedure is when someone is delinquent. Kasmari said written notices are given and a notice is hung on the customer’s door prior to shutting the water off.
Kasmari also assured all in attendance that the authority has no problems with the current drought situation. He said there is plenty of water and no restrictions would need to be placed on customers at this time.
Authority members Donald Stutzman and Kris Wetzel, were absent from the meeting.

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