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Jail water system report ‘not good’

Published May 16. 2019 12:28PM

Carbon County Correctional Facility’s water system has some problems, officials said.

On Wednesday, the county prison board discussed an inspection report of the facility’s water system that was completed by Carbon Engineering of Summit Hill.

Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein said that the report is “not good.”

One of the biggest issues is two leaks in the 100,000-gallon water tank that supplies water to the prison and Carbon County Emergency Management Agency in Nesquehoning. The prison currently is operating at full capacity, with 194 men and 53 women incarcerated.

Nothstein said he doesn’t believe the tank has been inspected since the prison was built over 20 years ago.

Part of the inspection was a recommendation to hire Pittsburg Tank and Tower of Henderson, Kentucky to do a thorough inspection of the outside and inside of the tank at a cost of $1,650.

Sheriff Anthony Harvilla, chairman of the prison board, urged the members to consider the recommendation by Carbon Engineering.

If the inspection shows the tank must be drained, cleaned and repainted, it will take approximately a month. A backup water supply is needed.

“We have no backup system to supply the water,” Nothstein said, adding that the cost to haul water in to the site, where the prison alone uses between 5,000 and 39,000 gallons a day, would be exorbitant.

One suggestion was to see if a water line from Nesquehoning could be installed to the prison.

Commissioner William O’Gurek questioned why the recommendation was to bring in a company from Kentucky for the tank inspection.

Controller Robert Crampsie added that he doesn’t object to the inspection, but said that the items need to be prioritized.

The county cannot fix all the problems at once because this had not been budgeted for this year, Crampsie said.

“We have a budget in place and this is all going to be above and beyond,” Crampsie said. “So if we prioritize and say here are things we need to get done this year, then we budget for the rest next year.”

Nothstein said the biggest issues, he believes, are the leaks in the tank and the piping.

The board then voted to move forward with recommending the inspection by Pittsburg Tank and Tower to the county commissioners for approval as long as the solicitor reviews the contract first.

In other matters, the new security camera project at the prison is in progress and should take approximately four to five weeks to complete.

Warden Timothy Fritz also said inmates are available for the alternative work program.

If any local municipality or nonprofit group has a project and needs helps, work-release approved inmates who are not actively working can go out to help through the alternative work program.

To inquire about the program, municipalities and nonprofits should call the prison at 570-325-2211 and speak with Frank Shubeck, work release director.

Comments
What kind of establishment or business does not factor maintenance and repairs into their budget? Equipment breaks, things need replacing... but for 20 years there was (is) no backup plan or budgetary considerations for basic utility issues like water? What else isn't budgeted for, I wonder? It seems this jail was built and forgotten about- with fingers and toes crossed that nothing major happens. The logic seems to be: Present: "I'll buy a car out of my price range now, because by the time things break in the future, I'll be making more money and be able to afford it." Future: "Well more things have gone wrong than I can handle, I'll just change the oil and build a new office complex."

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