A Practical Water Supply Alternative...
....to allow for mining and a larger reservoir at the site of the existing Silver Creek Reservoir
Over the past six decades several different efforts looked at many alternatives to replace the Silver Creek Reservoir
as a source of water. Deep wells, new dams & reservoirs, nearby rivers, and interconnections with nearby water
systems were all studied, but no alternative source was ever developed. Some proved insufficient. Some proved
sufficient, but too costly. For some strange reason (probably politics), a simple pipeline interconnection with the water
wealthy Borough of Tamaqua was never considered in any known study. In taking a closer look at Tamaqua, DiRenzo
verified that Tamaqua has a tremendous surplus of treated water capacity and is interested in selling it to offset
financial losses from past industrial closings. Tamaqua is blessed with an even larger surplus of raw water due to
nearly 3 billion gallons of storage capacity in its
massive Still Creek Reservoir. Consequentially, Tamaqua is one of
the few Pennsylvania communities granted exemption to drought restrictions such as, watering lawns, washing cars,
and filling swimming pools. (See news below)

Discussions further indicate that connecting Blythe's Water System to Tamaqua's Water system is a rather
elementary proposition. "Old Route 209" provides an ideal pipeline route to deliver water to the Schuylkill Valley, and
beyond. According to Tamaqua municipal representatives, ideal pressure and flow is available at the proposed point
of interconnection to adequately serve the entire needs of Blythe Authority customers. Unlike developing a new well
or reservoir source, Tamaqua's water quality and quantity is known, measured, tested, and approved. Certain
informational sources indicate that Tamaqua provides some of the highest quality of drinking water in the region (See
info below).

As you may have already read on the home page of this website, plans are already underway to extend Tamaqua's
water westward to provide
long-needed public water and fire protection to the Schuylkill Twp. Villages of Newkirk and
Reevesdale. Completion of this waterline project places Tamaqua's water that much closer to Blythe's and reduces
overall cost to develop the alternative water supply needed to allow mining and reclamation at Silver Creek.

It is important to understand that an interconnection with Tamaqua will only be needed when Blythe's existing sources
at Silver Creek, Caparell, and Moss Glen are insufficient due to drought, emergency, or a certain phase or scale of
mining and reclamation. Under the smallest scenario mining plan (where the Caparell pit remains undisturbed), it is
anticipated that utilizing the Tamaqua interconnection would only be necessary in times of severe drought or other
condition unrelated to mining.  

It is also important to note that Blythe's daily water use and demand in the Schuylkill Valley has been reduced to
historic lows in the past few years. According to '03-'05 data, total use averages nearly 556,000 gallons per day, and
more than half of that is lost to leaky distribution pipes. This record low use is a result of the loss of a large industrial
water user and the detection and fix of a major pipe leak on the Blythe water system. Additionally, several water rate
increases since the early 1990s have probably induced Blythe's customers to use less water, as well as find and
repair household leaks. This historic low water use, together with an interconnection at Tamaqua, effectively
eliminates any risk of an interrupted supply of safe drinking water due to mining and reclamation.

Lastly, the benefits of an interconnection go beyond allowing for mining and reclamation. The Blythe water system is
already interconnected with the drought prone village of Mary-D. Blythe also maintains an interconnection with the
Schuylkill County Municipal Authority, as well as the Minersvile Water Authority. Establishing the Tamaqua-Blythe
interconnection allows for Tamaqua's water surplus to be available to other Schuylkill County communities during
emergencies as drought, pipe-breaks, or contamination. Such regional interconnections are highly recommended by
state and federal regulatory agencies.   
Water Resource Bulletin No. 3
Water Resources of the Schuylkill River Basin
Pa. Dept. of Forest and Waters ...Page 119
In cooperation with the U.S. Dept. of Interior Geologic Survey, May 1968