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MOCANAQUA WATER COMPANY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (10/26/81)

decided: October 26, 1981.

MOCANAQUA WATER COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. TOWNSHIP OF CONYNGHAM, INTERVENOR



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Township of Conyngham v. Mocanaqua Water Company, No. C-79020729.

COUNSEL

Paul A. Barrett, Nogi, O'Malley & Harris, P.C., for petitioner.

Larry Gesoff, Assistant Counsel, with him Shirley Rae Don, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Joseph J. Malatesta, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Albert J. Flora, Jr., for intervenor.

Judges Blatt, MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Macphail

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 248]

This is a petition for review of an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) entered September 19, 1980 against the Mocanaqua Water Company (Water Company). To better understand the issue before this Court for review, a brief outline of the history of this case is in order.

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 249]

The Township of Conyngham (Township) filed a complaint with the PUC on February 28, 1979, alleging that the Water Company was furnishing the Township with water which had a bad taste, gave off an offensive odor, often carried sediment and was generally unsatisfactory for drinking and cooking purposes. On June 15, 1979 Thomas J. Jones, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), handed down his decision, ordering the Water Company to maintain a chlorine residual in its system at all times so as to ensure bacteriological safety and to improve the protection of its watershed, thereby prohibiting human activity near the water supply. The ALJ dismissed all other complaints.

The Township appealed this decision to the PUC on August 1, 1979. The PUC directed that oral argument be held, ordering its staff to file an amicus brief on the question of whether the PUC may order facility changes where the water passes safety tests of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, yet is aesthetically poor in quality and unpleasant in taste. As a result of this hearing, the PUC concluded that it could require such changes and entered the order which is the subject of this petition. That order is as follows:

It is ordered:

1. That the complaint of the Township of Conyngham is sustained.

2. That the Mocanaqua Water Company maintain an effective chlorine residual in its system at all times and closely monitor the ...


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