Cranberry tries to stay afloat of water demands |

Cranberry tries to stay afloat of water demands

Cranberry officials are trying to figure out how to keep the water flowing as more people stream into the community.

Officials project the township will be built out by 2020, with the population soaring by another 20,000 people to 45,000. If that happens, Cranberry’s peak water demand could be 6.6 million gallons per day, forcing the township to pull from three storage tanks to meet it.

Tackling that problem could be expensive. Building a new main water pump to handle the demand would cost between $500,000 and $1.5 million, officials say. Under an agreement that expires in 2017, West View supplies the township’s water, with the maximum allotment at 4.4 million gallons per day. But the township’s existing main pump at Commonwealth Drive can only handle 3.4 million gallons per day.

“We are trying to look at this issue before we wake up one day and find ourselves in a crisis,” township Manager Jerry Andree said. “We don’t need to have anything in the ground for the next few years.”

Cranberry, with a population of 25,518 people, now uses an average of 2.5 million gallons per day, 3.6 million gallons at peak times.

The once-rural township’s remarkable growth has continued in the last decade: annual averages of 320 new homes have been built and $25.6 million in commercial development has taken place, said Dan Santoro, the township’s assistant manager for planning and policy development.

Supplying water to meet average daily demand — 4.4 million gallons — for a population of 45,000 isn’t a concern, township public works director Mike Schneider says, but peak use could pose problems unless upgrades are in place.

An option to improve the existing main pump is relatively inexpensive, but it wouldn’t be expected to help much, Schneider said. The upgrade would cost just $115,000, but only add 20,000 gallons to capacity.

Building a new pump on Commonwealth Drive would cost $500,000, and at another site in the township, $1.5 million.

The township plans for design and engineering work on a new pump to be completed by 2004 with construction to begin in 2005 or 2006, Schneider said.

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