MARTINSBURG - A study initiated 2 years ago is recommending several practices as a way to lessen the possibility of a water shortage in Roaring Spring.
Representatives for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission acknowledged Thursday night that the borough may never run out of water, but suggested the practices to lessen that possibility due to large water consumption by commercial users.
"It's always kind of a gamble," said Jim Richenderfer, commission director of technical programs. "But we have no control over the climate."
In a presentation at the Martinsburg Volunteer Fire Department, Richenderfer and his associates reviewed the study that evaluated the availability of water within 185 square miles of Morrisons Cove.
The study pinpointed two concerns: a large amount of commercial water usage in Roaring Spring, which caused the commission to identify the borough as a "potentially stressed area," and high nitrates in Martinsburg's water due to agricultural activities. Martinsburg officials routinely monitor nitrates and have taken steps to introduce a nitrate-removal treatment process.
The commission suggested locating water withdrawal sites at downstream locations, where the maximum amount of water is available, thereby lessening the impact on other users and the environment.
Other recommendations included restoring vegetation next to streams, minimizing the creation of impervious surfaces and continuing to collect and monitor water usage data.
"By managing for the worst, we can prevent it from happening," commission senior hydrologist Robert Pody said.
Roaring Spring Borough Council President Bill Brumbaugh said he was very interested in the findings.
"But my bigger concern has been what we have to do to meet the Chesapeake Bay requirements," he said.
Like a lot of area municipalities, Roaring Spring is facing stricter standards for the treatment of waste and where it's discharged to lessen the impact on the Chesapeake Bay.
"Too often, it seems these governmental agencies can't agree," Brumbaugh said.
Pody said the study's findings are recommendations.
"We will not be creating new regulations to apply to the Cove," Pody said.
Scott Hoover, general manager at Roaring Spring Bottling Water, said he recalls the concern that developed during the 2002 drought.
"Everybody was concerned that we were going to run out of water," Hoover said. "That's why this study was commissioned."
In early September, the commission is expected to post a draft study, with research, on its website at www.srbc.net. Comments on the study will be accepted through early October. Revisions can be made until mid-December
Altoona Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.