About

The first public water supply for the Borough of Carmichaels was established by the borough council in 1938, with the aid of funds provided by the Works Progress Administration. Members of the Carmichaels Borough Council at the time were as follows:

Howard Grooms                       Council President

Charles Goldstrom

Alfred Armstrong

Jonah C. Hart

Lynn Hathaway

Robert Grim

Charles J. Hart

Albert Hathaway                       Secretary,

F. F. Solomon                           Burgess

The water was secured from deep wells located principally on the Brown farm just north of town. The borough erected a 150,000 gallon storage tank and laid approximately 14 miles of water main. However, each year during the dry seasons, serious water shortages developed and the water department limited the use of water to only essential purposes. To eliminate the water shortages, the borough council decided to seek a new and more adequate source of supply. Since the boundaries of the Borough had never been extended, the borough was very small; in addition, property assessments were very low. Council was convinced that the borough would be unable to finance any major water supply project. The total bond indebtedness legally available in the borough was approximately $18,000; an amount far short of the funds required. So in October, 1946, the Carmichaels Borough Council requested the Commonwealth of. Pennsylvania to grant a charter to the Municipal Authority of the Borough of, Carmichaels. In June, 1947, the Authority assumed ownership of the municipal water system and began making plans for financing of the expansion of the system.

The Water Department of the Borough of Carmichaels serves not only the Borough, but also surrounding Cumberland Township. In 1945, just prior to becoming an authority, 279 customers were served. As of July 1984, the Authority was serving 1400 customers and has continued to grow.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM

The Authority engaged the Chester Engineers of Pittsburgh to make a reconnaissance survey for the proposed system in 1947. At the recommendation of this firm, the authority constructed a pumping station and filtration plant three miles east of Carmichaels, along the Monongahela River, and laid 13,000 feet of 8 inch cement-lined cast iron water main from the filtration plant to existing lines in the borough.

The original water treatment plant was constructed atop the river bank with a raw water intake constructed on the-river bed with a gravity flow into a raw water well 40 feet deep. The water was pumped from the well to a mixing chamber where lime and alum where added to adjust ph and to aid settling of the water. From the mixing chamber the water was gravity fed to a settling basin with a series of baffles to create a detention time greater than 3 hours. The water then went to 2 rapid sand filters and to a finished water well to be pumped to town. Chlorine was added to the finished water well to insure bacteria free water. The original plant had capacity of 500,000 gallons per day.

The board of directors for the new Municipal Authority were as follows:

Alfred. Armstrong               President

George Robinson                Vine President

Richard Baily                      Treasurer

J. Claude Smith                   Manager

Clarence V. Davidson         Secretary

The Authority had retained Chester Engineers as their consultants. Chester engineered and supervised the building and startup of the, new filtration plant and the laying of the main line from the river. Chester Engineers still serves the Authority today.

By 1955 the Authority had a new filtration plant and 19 miles of water main sized from 2 inch to 8 inch. Piping in the system consisted of cast iron, steel, galvanized, and asbestos cement pipe. The Authority had 861 customers, 79 commercial and 782 domestic. The water rates in 1955 were as follows:

First                  1,000 gallon               2.00

Second              1,000                            .80

Third                 1,000                            .70

Fourth               1,000                            .60

Fifth                  12000                           .50

All over             5,000                            .50 per 1,000

This rate schedule bad taken effect March 1, 1949. The Authority 1955 also charged a rental of $40 for each fire hydrant in Cumberland Township of which there were 18. No rental fee is charged in the borough as the hydrant were part of the original system.

The remaining part of the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s saw little change in the filtration plant and pumping station however the distribution system began to grow as the population the area grew. Expansion of the water system took place in the township as the borough was completely served by the original system. New lines were laid on Schroyer Lane approximately 1 mile, from the old fire hall west to Baily’s Ave. 1 5 mile, Glades Run Road 1 mile, Route 88 South of Carmichaels .5 miles, Old Waynesburg Road 1 mile and many smaller extensions. The Authority with help of Greene County Industrial Development provided service to the Industrial Park located at Paisly a distance’ of more than 2 miles,

In the early 1960’s a new problem came up, inadequate storage for water pumped to town. The original 150,000 gallon stand pipe was too small for the growing community. In 1963 a new 200,000 gallon tank was erected alongside the old tank creating storage of 350,000 gallons,

In 1970 the Authority had 1,022 customers, and the minimum water bill was $2.95. The Authority had 30+ miles of water main. The township was served by 40 fire hydrates at a rental of $60.00. per hydrant. The Authority was about to face a new problem, the filtration plant was reaching its capacity for production of water. The water plant would have to be expanded.

The Authority, with help of Chester Engineers, and Greene County Industrial Development attempted to secure funds for the necessary plant expansion during 1975 and 1976. Chester made theplans and specifications. The plant size would be doubled and line extensions would be made to Stringtown, Stephenson Lane, and Nemacolin Road. The Authority received a grant and borrowed $300,000 to start the project in 1977.

October, 1978, the new plant was placed in operation; which was basically the same as the old except twice as large or doubled. We now have two settling basins or clarifiers, two filters were added. The clear well size was doubled and the 350 gallon per minute pumps were replaced with 750 gallon per minute pumps. A lagoon was installed to catch all sediment that comes off the clarifiers by a chain drive system that cleans the bottom of the basins. The new plant is operated by air cylinders which eliminates the use of manual valves saving time and making for an easier job. A 40,000 gallon standpipe was erected outside the plant, replacing a 10,000 gallon tank atop the roof of the old plant. The water in this tank is used for backwash of the filters. The new plant has pre and post chlorination. Water is pre-chlorinated prior to settling to break up iron and manganese which when combined causes black water. The post chlorination occurs in the clear well as the water is pumped to town. In 1982 the plant was fully automated through the use of pressure switches. The plant starts at a set pressure and shuts down at a different pressure.

The second phase of the project saw the extension of water main to Stringtown, Stephenson’s Lane, and Nemacolin Road. This involved laying 7 miles of 4 and 6 inch PVC piping and the installation of over 100 services. Fire protection in this area was also increased with the addition of 8 fire hydrants.

The years of 1979 through the present have seen only small extensions of the water system due mainly to the lack building in the area. The principal extension during this time have been for the apartment complexes; Carmichaels Arbors, Parkview Knoll, Autumn Ridge, and the just started Cedarwood Apartments. These 4 projects have placed 250 additional users on the system. As of July, 1984 the Authority has 1400 customers, 40 miles of water main and 70 fire hydrants. The present Board of Directors are as follows:

Frank Porter                               President
Raymond Randolph                   Vice-President
Kenneth Christopher                  Secretary-Treasurer
Jesse Sanner
F. L. Jacobs

The Authority is presently trying to secure funding to solve several problems. The original water system is now 46 years old. The water mains are in desperate need of replacement as evidenced by the 197 leak repaired in 1983. The storage of finished water is nearing a critical stage also. With storage of only 350,000 gallon and an average daily use of 480,000 gallon we need additional tank. Plans for this call for the addition of another 300,000 gallon standpipe which should see us well ‘into the next century. Plans are also being made to add boosterstations in areas of low water pressure and extending of mains.

The history of the Carmichaels Water Authority has many names behind it: Richard Baily) Charles Donley, P. A. Meyers, Wilbur Keister, J. Claude Smith are but a few along with all the customers served past and present. The Authority will continue to build upon its past to create a better future.