Artesian Water issue is focus of public meeting on Sept. 8
● By J. Chambless
Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will hold a public input
meeting to hear from residents in the New Garden area regarding
Artesian Water Company’s application to withdraw water from the
Broad Run Aquifer on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Avondale Fire Company.
The meeting comes at the request of state Sen. Andy Dinniman, who has been raising concerns about the project’s potential impact on well water levels.
“I want to thank the DRBC for holding this meeting and for coming to our area to hear directly from those potentially impacted by this important project,” Dinniman said. “If you live in New Garden, Franklin, Landenberg, London Britain or the surrounding area, or have a business there that relies on well water, I encourage you to learn about Artesian’s plans and to make your voice heard on Sept. 8.”
Artesian Water is seeking approval to withdraw as much as 288,000 gallons of water per day, at a rate of 200 gallons per minute, from the aquifer. The Delaware-based company wants to expand its public water service to several properties on Buttonwood, Broad Run and Newark roads in Landenberg, as well as nine other properties set for development.
To do so, Artesian must clear two hurdles: A water withdraw permit from the DRBC to actually take the water out of the ground and franchise approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to expand its service area.
The DRBC, a regional body governed by five commissioners, each representing Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and the federal government, has already delayed approval of Artesian’s permit twice. Its next opportunity to vote on the matter will be at its public hearing and business meeting on Sept. 15 and 16.
The PUC is continuing to resolve preliminary objections and has yet to rule on the matter. However, commissioners have assured Dinniman that they too plan to hold a public input hearing in the New Garden area before doing so.
Dinniman and others, including Save Our Water, a group of residents concerned about the impact of a high-volume well on homes and business in New Garden, Franklin, Landenberg, London Britain and the surrounding area, continue to raise concerns about the project’s potential impacts.
Artesian’s proposed new service area goes to the state line, raising concerns that Artesian is positioning itself to pump Pennsylvania water to its tens of thousands of customers in Delaware – something the company has expressed interest in doing in the past.
The company currently serves 38 homes in the New Garden area. But in its application, it requests expanding its service territory to include service to additional property slated for development. Artesian states than an estimated 200 customers are expected to live in the area, but no homes are under construction and no building permits have been submitted to the township.
“This issue is connected to the larger question of development in southern Chester County,” Dinniman said. “The area remains one of the last rural and agricultural bastions of open space in our county and there is a real desire to keep it that way.”