Mount Holly Springs

Traffic passes through Mount Holly Springs.

Officials in Mount Holly Springs may explore the feasibility of extending public water service to the southern portion of the borough.

The Borough Council Thursday gave Manager Tom Day the go-ahead to approach the borough authority board with a proposal to purchase a 19-acre vacant lot on Maple Street.

Day briefed the council on a preliminary concept he had discussed recently with authority board president Michael Gwozdecki.

The concept involves buying the land to drill a well and to construct a storage tank and pump station to support an extension of lines beyond where water service ends at the fire hydrant in front of the Deer Lodge, Day told council. “We have sewer lines that run to everything out there. We should get water out there, too.”

Day said the Liberty Woods development on the south side of the borough has been a source of concern lately. Storm water runoff from heavy rain has overwhelmed the failing drainage system resulting in damage to the roads running through the subdivision.

“The pipes are rusted out,” Day said. “Water is running underneath the streets. We have a major project ahead of us. It’s something that is rearing its ugly head in the long-run.”

Since any work to correct the drainage would involve tearing up the streets, Day thought the authority could coordinate that project with an extension of water lines to properties in Liberty Woods and elsewhere in the southern portion of the borough.

Because Liberty Woods was built on sandier soils, there have been cases where wells have caved in resulting in the need to drill new wells, Day said. That happened three times on one property.

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“It has come to a point where we have to throw a lifeline at these people by correcting what has gone bad before it becomes terrible,” Day said.

He suggested that the authority could apply for funding through an infrastructure program that offers state grants ranging from $500,000 to $20 million.

Mount Holly Springs would have to provide a local match that could be partially offset by PennVEST or some other kind of funding stream, he said. “It’s going to be a big investment,” Day said. “It’s going to be a big undertaking.”

Borough Mayor Leroy “Cork” Shildt asked if it was necessary for the borough to purchase all 19 acres of the vacant lot. Though Day thought it prudent to purchase the whole tract, he was not sure how much land would be needed for the well, storage tank and pump station. Day had no cost estimate for the project.

Day suggested taking the idea to the full authority board for its review. The next authority meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12 in borough hall, 200 Harman St.

The authority board could decide whether to have its engineer conduct a feasibility study that would include a project scope, timeline and cost estimate. Before any work could begin, the concept would have to come back before the council for an official vote.

“I say go ahead and bring it up to the authority and see what they have on their mind,” Council President James Collins II said. He asked if there was anyone on council who opposed exploring the concept. No one said anything.

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Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.