Residents in the Snowshoe area received 1,600 cases of free bottled water on Friday as a temporary relief from their water crisis.
Residents started showing up at the town’s EMS building early in the morning. For weeks, their water has looked, smelled and tasted abnormal.
"Yes, everybody is having the same problem," said Sharon Nilson, the EMS chief and a Snowshoe resident. "For some people, it’s dirt in their lines; for some people, I guess it’s the milky thing. We have some people live up on Fountain Road that have no water pressure whatsoever.”
Each household got two cases of bottled water donated by Nestle. Students and faculty from the Bald Eagle Area High School volunteered to help distribute the water.
Jim Yost, chairman of the Mountaintop Regional Water Authority, said the area’s water issues date back to 2006.
“We cannot pump enough water because our sources can’t," Yost said. "We have leaks so it's draining our tanks faster. That’s been the main problem.”
Yost said the ideal water level should fill the tank full - at 38 feet - it's now above 20 feet, but a few days ago the water level was at only two and a half feet.
Yost said his office is working with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the State College Borough Water Authority to detect and fix the leaks. The area will potentially look for a new water source.
"We tried to look for a new water source two or three years ago," he said. "At the time, it would cost $1.7 million and we didn't have the money. But now we might have to do that."
State Senator Jake Corman and Representative Mike Hanna were both at the event. They said they will help the area find funding to solve the problem.