The Hazleton City Authority got its beginnings on Nov. 1, 1938, when it was organized under the Municipal Authorities Act of 1935. The authority was initially founded as an industrial authority to purchase a portion of the Duplan Silk Corporation’s building along Diamond Avenue and Cedar Street in order to keep jobs in Hazleton.
After Duplan closed its Hazleton facility in 1953, HCA’s industrial arm continued to recruit employers to the building for the next 25 years until the City of Hazleton took over the building in 1978. The Duplan building was sold to Sargent Art in 1985.
Meanwhile, HCA acquired the Hazleton Water Company on April 19, 1943. The Hazleton Water Company had been incorporated on Dec. 31, 1937, as a merger of six local water companies. Those water companies and their service areas were as follows:
- Beaver Meadows Water Company, incorporated June 19, 1893, and supplying water in Banks Township, Carbon County.
- Delano Water Company, incorporated November 13, 1901, and supplying water in Delano Township, Schuylkill County.
- Diamond Water Company of Hazleton, Pa., incorporated June 24, 1887, and supplying water particularly in the Diamond addition of Hazleton (annexed by Hazleton, then a borough, in 1885) but also to Hazleton and the vicinity in general.
- Drifton Water Company, incorporated June 19, 1893, and supplying Hazle Township, Luzerne County.
- Hazleton Water Company, incorporated January 8, 1895, and supplying Hazleton with the exception of the Diamond Addition.
- Tomhicken Water Company, incorporated June 19, 1893, and supplying Black Creek Township, Luzerne County.
Until the merger, these six companies were operated by the Wyoming Valley Water Supply Company, a subsidiary of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.
In addition to the Hazleton Division, HCA owns and operates three small well systems that supply small villages in the Delano Division, Tomhicken Division and Derringer/Fern Glen Division.
In August 1993, HCA constructed a new business office complex and filtration plant capable of handling 10 million gallons of water per day. All water for the Hazleton Division is pumped to this plant, located at 400 E. Arthur Gardner Parkway. The Hazleton Division is a surface water system and obtains raw water from four reservoirs, a well field and the Lehigh River (2.5 million gallon-per-day allotment from the Delaware River Basin Commission).
In 2004, HCA completed construction of an additional well and a new 84,200-gallon steel storage tank for the Tomhicken system. The authority also replaced the entire distribution system in the village with new 8-inch ductile iron pipe.
In 2008, HCA drilled a second well north of the village of Derringer. In 2011, the authority replaced the old storage tank with a new 94,000-gallon steel storage tank and replaced the entire distribution system in the village of Fern Glen with new 8-inch ductile iron pipe.
Additionally, HCA received a PENNVEST grant for $12.5 million to make the following water system improvements, which were completed from 2009 to 2012:
- Locust Street distribution project (from Diamond Avenue to 17th Street): Replace old, small diameter water main to improve flow and fire protection with the installation of new water main, tie-ins, service renewals and fire hydrants on Locust Street in Hazleton.
- Upgrade Perry Court Pump Station (3rd Street and Perry Court): The Perry Court Pump Station was constructed in 1960. The upgrade replaced the pumps with two new pumps suitable for current and future growth of the system. The upgrade also replaced old piping, upgraded the existing electric service and provided an emergency electrical generator in a new building addition to ensure the ability to operate during emergencies and electrical outages.
- Jeanesville/Junedale main extension project: Replace old, small diameter water mains and improve flow and fire protection with the installation of new transmission main to the Village of Jeanesville in Hazle Township and the installation of new water main, tie-ins, service renewals and new fire hydrants in the Village of Junedale in Banks Township.
- SCADA system upgrade – phases II and III: This project upgraded the overall Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) at the Hazleton filtration plant and remote pump stations and storage tanks and upgraded the micro-wave radio equipment. The project provides a state-of-the-art SCADA and process control solution and provides connectability, interfaces, flexibility, hardware and software that will support current and future applications for the authority’s entire system, which encompasses 14 municipalities in three counties.
- Broad Street main replacement project: The Broad Street Main Replacement Project replaced old, small diameter water mains and improved flow and fire protection with the installation of new water main in West Hazleton from Smith Florist to Third Street, installation of new main in Hazleton on Broad Street from Boundary Street to Mill Street.
- New McKinley Street tank and distribution improvements: The project included construction of a 2-million-gallon welded steel water storage tank including foundation and new valve house at 8th and McKinley streets, next to the existing tank. In addition, the project installed new water main on 5th Street from McKinley Street to Branch Court, 6th Street from Lincoln Street to Grant Street, 7th Street from Branch Court to Lincoln Street, 9th Street from McKinley Street to Branch Court and 11th Street from Wilbur Court to Grant Street in Hazleton.
- Drifton tank replacement project: The project included the demolition of an existing 66,000-gallon steel tank and valve building and the construction of a new 300,000-gallon welded steel water storage tank, foundation and valve house in the same location as the existing tank in Butler Township.
- Rebuild filters at Hazleton Filtration Plant: The project included the replacement of filter media that had been in use for the past 19 years and repairs to the under-drain system on three filters at the Hazleton City Authority Filtration Plant in Hazleton.
Today, the Hazleton City Authority employs 42 full-time employees in the areas of water treatment, distribution, maintenance, accounting, billing and management. These employees serve just over 15,000 customers throughout the Hazleton area.