Monthly Image: Expedient Water Tank Repair

If the only tool you have is a wooden plug…

Wood-plugged water tank - tweaked
Wood-plugged water tank – tweaked

I took that picture back in mid-1969, near the Hummelstown, PA water treatment and pumping plant.

The overhead view now shows a small tank behind the water plant, with that house just across the access road at the bottom of the image:

Hummelstown PA water plant - overhead - ca 2013
Hummelstown PA water plant – overhead – ca 2013

Judging from the perspective and the row of bushes, the old tank probably stood across the (now abandoned) tailrace, near that little dot in the mowed area. The dam (in the lower right corner) washed away during a flood some decades ago; I have no idea where Hummelstown gets its water.

That once-spiffy limestone house, built with stone from a local quarry, has fallen on hard times:

Hummelstown PA water plant - ca 2013
Hummelstown PA water plant – ca 2013

The pump house features Hummelstown Brownstone, which also appears in the finest old buildings all along the East Coast. If you poke around the area, you’ll find traces of the Hummelstown Brownstone Company, including several of their quarries. If I recall the story correctly, my father was Mr. Walton’s chauffeur.

The other house may have vanished when the Graystone Farms development ate the surrounding area. Unlike most housing development names, where the name indicates something obliterated to make way for the houses, that area still has plenty of gray limestone:

Hummelstown PA water plant - Pennsy Supply Quarry - ca 2013
Hummelstown PA water plant – Pennsy Supply Quarry – ca 2013

That’s an active limestone quarry, even if they’re not excavating the main pit these days. The orange marker in the lower left marks the water plant; Graystone Farms in the corner. Yeah, that’s a big pit.

I digitized my slide collection somewhere around the turn of the current millennium. This slide faded to a distinct magenta tint that I’ve removed with crude color correction, plenty of dust mars the image, and so forth and so on, but I (still) sympathize with that poor guy faced with a daunting task.

Imagine a kid with a camera poking around an active water treatment station in this day and age…

2 thoughts on “Monthly Image: Expedient Water Tank Repair

    1. Given the failed dam, closed tailrace, and lack of outdoor hardware, I figured they were piping water in from Hershey or Harrisburg. Perhaps they have a pumped-storage tank uphill somewhere in town to buffer the demand.

      That report says the hypochlorite disinfector replaced the chlorine gas system in 1999, then they went with a “membrane system” in 2006. I (think I) remember seeing chlorine tanks on the downhill side of the plant, but it’s been a while…

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