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Emmitsburg water supplies deemed adequate

Rick Fulton
Gettysburg Times

(12/30) Emmitsburg well and reservoir water supplies are showing minimal, if any, deficit as the coming year approaches.

Town manager David Haller told the town council at last Monday’s meeting, "At the end of the month, just prior to this recent rain, we had actually gone back into a precipitation deficit of .3 inches."

The area received 2.9 inches of precipitation in November, while the average is 3.6. This contributed toward a three-month precipitation deficit of 0.3 inch, Haller told the council.

"Over the last six months," he said, "the average precipitation from June 1 through Nov 30 is 22.9. We have received 22.6 (inches) for that period."

"I actually think," he stated, "that (the deficit) has been fixed with the recent rain."

As of the end of November, Haller reported, Rainbow Lake "is holding at about 12 inches below the spillway."

Rainbow Lake, at 11.5-acre in extent and holding some 33 million-gallons of potential drinking water, serves as a major reservoir for the town.

The town manager also gave the council a brief report of activities that took place at the water treatment plant in November, noting that the roughing filters are being back-washed twice a day and the diatomaceous earth filters are being done once a week.

Roughing filters are used to "pre-treat" incoming water by removing solids such as sand and silt.

Diatomaceous earth filters trap finer dirt and debris.

Haller noted that the treatment plant staff also thoroughly cleaned the entire treatment plant.

The water department produced and purchased an average of 317,179 gallons of water per day (GPD) in November.

An average of 272,923 GPD was consumed.

The difference of 14 percent between the amount acquired and the amount consumed represented backwash water (expended to flush the filters).

Mount Saint Mary’s University sold Emmitsburg some 296,300 gallons in November, or about 3.1 percent of the total intake for the month, while municipal wells produced 47.2 percent of the water taken in.

Rainbow Lake produced about 49.7 percent of the total water consumed.

The wastewater collection system continued to be subjected to "wild water" in November, resulting in the wastewater treatment plant exceeding its permitted treatment limits on two days in November.

On November 15, 998,000 gallons was treated, while on November 30, the plant processed 966,000 gallons.

Neither incident produced a sewage spill.

Wild water is unwanted rain water, stormwater runoff, or water introduced into the system through illicit or old forgotten connections.

The wastewater treatment plant treated an average of 388,000 GPD in November, Haller stated, indicating that 29.7 percent of the wastewater treated was wild water.

Town staff continue to work towards addressing collection system issues to reduce the amount of wild water getting into the system, and recently conducted smoke tests to locate illicit or old and forgotten connections.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government