Butler County's great daily newspaper

Tempers flare at meeting on community's water woes

July 22, 2019 News Extra

Advertisement | Advertise Here
Ed Schmitt of Gibson-Thomas Engineering answers questions about the monthlong boil water advisory Monday night before angered residents asked Schmitt to leave the Bradys Bend Township building.

Angry residents tell expert to leave

BRADYS BEND TWP, Armstrong County — A community meeting called to air frustrations over a monthlong boil water advisory devolved to shouting Monday night.

Much of Bradys Bend Township is advised to boil tap water before consumption due to a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection order issued last month against Bradys Bend Township Water and Sewer Authority. The DEP found problems both in the authority's filtration system and in a water reservoir used to store treated water before it flows to customers. The latter is in physically poor condition, according to the DEP.

Ed Schmitt, an engineer with Gibson-Thomas Engineering who does work for the authority, spoke for a time before a back and forth exchange developed between him and a group of angry residents who organized the meeting.

Several among the group suggested that Schmitt leave. He did, and a group of other men rose and left with him. Among them were Wade Ion, the authority's general manager.

Before leaving, Schmitt gave his own take on the water problems.

He attributed the filtration problems to heavy rain this summer, saying “the plant is not built for what it got.”

Henry Crawford, a supervisor on the township's board, criticized the meeting's organizers.

“I can't believe you asked the one person who was being professional in this to leave,” Crawford said.

After the group of men, including Schmitt, walked out, another water official began speaking. Nicholas Kerr, general manager of the Petroleum Valley Regional Water Authority, picked up where Schmitt left off.

The two clear options by which the township may regain regular drinking water, both Schmitt and Kerr explained, are to make expensive improvements to the existing water system or to get water from another authority.

This is an excerpt. Get Tuesday's print edition or subscribe online to read more.

Share this article: