HAZLETON, Pa. — The director of the water department at the Hazleton City Authority doesn't want the level of the filtration pond next to the building to fool you. It's getting close to an emergency here as far as water levels are concerned for a number of reasons.
The first is the weather conditions this summer.
"Dry and the lack of rain and conditions that haven't happened in our timeframe here, and I'm here over 30 years," said director Scot Burkhardt.
Second is the inability to fix an emergency pump system that brings in water from the Lehigh River during a drought.
"Conditions out there in the world right now, shipping and delays of everything, have set us back to over a year now for waiting on parts and pumps," added Burkhardt.
Folks at the authority hope to have the emergency pump running at a limited capacity by Thursday, but it's up in the air and doesn't cover the third reason for low water levels.
"We took on some additional customers, which added another million gallons a day to our system, which is kind of maxing out our filtration plan," said Burkhardt.
So now, homes and businesses served by the Hazleton City Authority across three counties are being asked to stop all non-essential water usage.
"We're asking for a 25 percent cut back, so if you go over that, there's additional penalties," said Burkhardt.
Those penalties could add 5 to 10 percent more to your water bill.
"My dad worked for the water company for 30 years. When he said conserve, we conserved," said Hazleton resident Melissa Prusak.
Officials add that you never know when water is going to be needed.
"We had a fire emergency, I believe a week or so ago, that that dropped our tanks to some pretty critical levels," added Burkhardt.
"Shut down the carwashes, no water at restaurants, that kind of stuff. We need fire firefighters to have water," said Prusak.
If you have any questions about conserving water or this mandate to limit water usage, you can find contact information for the Hazleton City Authority on its website by clicking here.
See news happening? Text our Newstip Hotline.