Water Buffalo Arrives After Giardiasis Concerns

HAZLE TOWNSHIP — A water tank is now in place in a community where the state says the water isn’t safe to use because of the threat of giardiasis.

On Monday, the DEP said the advisory not to use the water to drink, wash or bathe is in effect “indefinitely.”

Some people living in two villages in the Hazleton area filled up at the water buffalo after it showed up Monday.

Others tell us there’s no problem with the water system in the villages of Stockton #6 and #8 even though the DEP said Friday it is contaminated with the giardia cyst and shouldn’t be used.

The water system that has served the villages of Stockton #6 and #8 near Hazleton for decades is just a few small dams in the woods, no filters, no treatment, no one really in charge of running it.

The state said on Friday that tests showed the presence of giardia cysts that can cause the serious illness giardiasis.

A water buffalo donated by the neighboring Hazleton city authority is the option for water in Stockton.

“That what’s we’re trying to do, trying to be a good neighbor to help the township, help that little community and see what we can do,” said Hazleton City Authority member Randy Cahalan.

The Hazleton City Authority provides water throughout the Hazleton area but not to 40 homes in Stockton.

For years the state has tried to get those living there to link up to a real public water system, but the homeowners would have to pay for costs of the hookup.

“We’re not really in a situation where we want to tax our customers to get other customers like a for-profit situation,” said Cahalan.

The water buffalo may be in place, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to use it. Some of the older folks tell us they don’t have any interest in this. They say the water system is fine.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’ve been using it for 80 years,” said resident Andrew Giroski.

Giroski says he hasn’t used the water for drinking for a few years. Many of his neighbors haven’t either. But Giroski and other residents helped maintain the little dams for decades. He says the simple water system has worked fine and unless someone else wants to pay for a water line to hook up to Hazleton, he and some others in the community think this will continue to be OK for Stockton.

“It costs money. We don’t have the money to pay,” Giroski said.

The state says it can’t force the people of Stockton to hook up to a public system. But the DEP says no one in Stockton should use the water to drink, cook, or bathe.

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