Water Line Improvements at Moraine State Park
By Dustin Drew
As a park manager with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks, for more than a decade, I have witnessed the positive impacts that Keystone Funding has provided to Pennsylvania State Parks countless times. Keystone Funding is a critical component towards the funding of park projects, which allows the DCNR to provide and maintain the infrastructure and amenities of the parks that our visitors depend on and utilize while recreating.
There are significant infrastructure improvements needed at many parks and at Moraine State Park. The ability to provide safe, clean drinking water and properly treat wastewater has been at the forefront of project needs. One such project, which is currently in the design phase, will provide for the replacement of approximately nine miles of main water line piping, around half of the total main water lines running through the park. Much of the infrastructure at the park was installed in the late 1960s, as the park was originally developed, with additional infrastructure (focused mostly on our North Shore) added in preparation for the National Boy Scout jamborees that were held at Moraine in 1973 and 1978. This infrastructure is now reaching, or has surpassed, its life expectancy and is in need of replacement. Water lines in poor condition often result in pipe failures and water leaks. Repairs of these leaks can take away valuable staff time from other maintenance needs and can become expensive over time due to the cost of excavation, repair materials, and the additional water that must be produced to replace what is lost. Further complication is provided by the glacially influenced soils found in many areas of the park. Specifically, soils consisting of fine silt, sand, and gravel tend to drain well, often making it much more difficult to locate the water leak because the excess water never reaches the surface.
The replacement of these water lines will greatly improve the water distribution system at the park by ensuring new piping made of quality material is being utilized to carry drinking water to the park facilities. By removing the antiquated lines and replacing them with new ones, the number of water leaks should also be greatly reduced, allowing our maintenance staff to focus on other park improvements beyond infrastructure repairs. The project should also result in a cost savings in the operation of our water plant, due to less water being lost to leaks.
While this project will not offer a bright, shiny new amenity for our park visitors to see and appreciate, it is crucial to maintaining a water production and distribution system that does allow for our visitors to use comfort facilities, fill their bottles at a water fountain, or take a shower at one of our modern cabins. This project will improve part of the skeleton of the park that supports so many of the other amenities, and this will be accomplished through Keystone funding.