WELLSBORO - Alan Zeigler, of Larson Design Group, presented a review of the borough's water system for the municipal authority Tuesday.
The authority had Zeigler prepare the review as part of its discussion of whether to search for an alternate water source or try to work with what it has, which has been subject to recurring "boil water" advisories.
What Zeigler told them was that it would cost several million dollars and take four or more years to find, study, get approval for - and put into operation - a new water source from an entirely different location, such as north of the borough where there is less chance of running into issues with "exceptional value wetlands."
Once the validity and need for the new water source is determined, he added, a ranking system is employed, assigning a certain number of points to the project.
"Of course the higher the number of points, the faster the project gets funded," Zeigler said.
The other option the borough has is to invest in the microfiltration system it is leasing as a back-up system for when its slow sand filter system fails.
That system would cost $1.7 million and needs approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection. A permit for that approval is under review by the department.
Water from the borough's current water sources, the Brownlee wells in Delmar Township and Hamilton Lake, can be subject to increased algae and nutrient pollution during certain times of the year, requiring the filters to be cleaned and changed more often, Zeigler added.
Another option is to dredge Hamilton Lake, which would give the borough access to certain other state programs such as lake management plans, he said.
"It is very important for the authority to do good planning to make sure you have a system in place to meet the needs of the community for long term of 30-40 years, and that system improvements are made with no issues during that period like boil water advisories," Zeigler said.