Solutions in Steelton: Leaders call water quality fix ‘foolproof’

Steelton leaders Friday announced a long-term solution to ongoing water violations.

“We’ve come a long way since the 2013 violation,” Borough Manager Doug Brown said. “I think everyone recognizes that.”

The plan is to install a new chlorine contact tank at the borough’s water plant. The facility was built in the 1970’s, and like many others in the country, can’t keep up with current regulations. It’s part of the reason the system has another DEP violation.

“Everyone is sick of hearing of violations, ‘Is it safe, what do we do, it’s cloudy,” State Representative Patty Kim said. “That’s not the way to live.”

Reports show there are still high levels of trihalomethanes in the water. They’re not immediately dangerous, but over a long period of time, they can increase cancer risks. The DEP says those levels will go down naturally as the weather gets colder.

Steelton isn’t the only municipality working on this issue. The DEP says approximately 260 million Americans drink water with high levels of byproducts like trihalomethanes.

“I came here today because I am confident there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Kim said.

People who live in the Steelton community say they can see that light, too. They’ve been frustrated with the ongoing water issues, but now they say they’re cautiously optimistic.

“Tor them trying to resolve the problem makes me feel a little better, a little more comfortable with what’s going on,” barbershop owner Robert Butts said.

“I think that’s something important,” Denise Lickers, who works in Steelton, sad. “That’s something they should have done prior to these issues to make sure this did not occur. Of course we can’t change what’s happened in the past but we can go into the future and do what we need to do.”

Steelton’s leaders say the new tank will cost $2.1 million, paid for with a long-term, low-interest loan. The goal is to complete the project by the end of 2017.

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