Pa. township worried water company can’t keep up with new businesses

SPRINGFIELD TWP., Pa. (WYTV) – Leaders in Mercer County’s Springfield Township are worried the area cannot supply enough water for new businesses to move in.

“We’ve already been told that if we don’t have the infrastructure in the ground, then we will not get commercial businesses coming to build. It’s basically not shovel-ready,” said Springfield Township Supervisor David Swartz.

Township leaders want to bring water to the commercial district of Route 208 near the Grove City Outlets. However, a portion of the area already has water from the Buhl Water Company, a cooperatively-owned, nonprofit water company also located in Springfield.

Some feel the township is pushing out Buhl Water.

“We have no intention of putting anyone out of business,” Swartz said.

He said the township’s commercial district is growing quickly and he’s concerned the area won’t have enough water to keep up.

“Can Buhl supply the water needed for an expanding district? And that’s the question at hand.”

The township was looking into two possible plans. One was to put the pipeline in the ground themselves and the second was to buy water in bulk.

On Monday, township supervisors met with the water company to discuss what to do.

In the end, the township agreed to hold off on putting the pipeline in the ground until they can come up with a new plan.

“According to the information packet given to us by Buhl Water, there is sufficient water for the commercial district,” Swartz said.

The township said it has to build the pipeline to attract businesses.

“If we don’t have water, they’re not going to come and if that’s not the case, then we have spent $2 million on sewer for nothing,” Swartz said.

Buhl Water needs the guarantee of business first. Then, it said, it will build the necessary pipeline. To do otherwise would only cost the company more.

There is also the issue of a township ordinance which would require all commercial businesses in the area to hook up to the township’s water. No residents would have to connect.

That’s still an option but Swartz said it’s dependent on what Buhl Water can bring to the table.

“If Buhl is not able to produce the amount, and the quantity, and quality that we need sustainable, then the township needs to step in.”

The township will meet with Buhl Water next Monday to discuss ongoing plans. Swartz hopes they can find a solution.