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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:00 AM
 
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Hello everyone,
My wife and I currently live in Wichita Falls Texas and are considering accepting a job offer in the Harrisburg area. We are looking at renting and eventually buying in the Carlisle area. Any help with the below questions would be great.

Doing a little research I ran across numerous articles (1+ yrs old) about chronic air and water pollution in the Harrisburg metro area. Does anyone have any current info regarding this?

Has the oil/gas well fracking impacted this area?

If you are outside the city limits I imagine you are on well water. Anyone heard of contamination issues? (big problem in Texas)

North Texas is an oven with relentless oppressive heat and no relief from the sun beating down on you with summer temps over 100 almost everyday from mid may thru Sep. How is the Harrisburg area?

Texas might not have a state income tax but they will tax you in other ways especially property taxes. How bad/good are the property taxes?
We have a $160,000 3 bd, 2 bth, 2 car gar and pay $4000 a yr in property taxes and $2,000 for insur.

Any help is appreciated
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:19 PM
 
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The gas fracking areas are 100 miles north and west of Harrisburg. Some professional services in the area do gas industry related work, and of course there are lobbyists. Whether it has any effect on the main stem Susquehanna River is highly debated. The other streams, including Juniata River do not come from fracking areas. Some streams that enter the east bank of the Susquehanna flow from historic coal mining areas, some parts of the headwaters of the Wiconisco and Swatara Creeks are impacted by mine drainage. Urban or industrial discharges could cause local surface or groundwater contamination, highly variable and site-specific.

Air pollution could arise from allergens (ah-CHOO), and from particulate diesel soot thought to be associated with concentrations of large "monster" warehouses that line I-81 in the area. The area does not have LA-type smog. There might be localized stink from manure application.

I'll defer most climate observations to other features of this website. 100 degree temperatures are highly uncommon but often temps do reach the 90s. There can be large dumps of snow. Natural gas availability for heat is spotty. Electric heat is expensive to run, even with air-source heat pumps. Heating oil is somewhat common. Sometimes coal or wood is used, usually with some form of electric backup. Geothermal (no, not from buried magma, but a ground-source heat pump) would be the most expensive to install but cheapest to run.

The availability of public water is somewhat spotty and irrational, a consequence of the highly fractionated form of local government characteristic of PA. South Middleton Township (south and east of Carlisle Borough) has an extensive and excellent public water system. Home water well contamination does not come from fracking, but generally from failing septic systems and agriculture, and is highly variable and site-specific. Issues that might be encountered are bacterial and nitrate contamination, and sometimes high iron and/or manganese levels, and frequently hardness. If you go on the far side of South Mountain towards Adams County (Gardners postal address, and south) the geology becomes more peculiar, and it's also possible to have pesticide contamination from former or current apple orchards.

PA is unusual in that it is more likely that edge suburban or sometimes even fairly rural areas will have public sewage rather than public water lines. Sewage rules are draconian in PA for on-lot systems, probably about the tightest, while water rules for individual wells are pretty much non-existent (I have heard that PA's rules in this respect are the loosest in the country). If the house you are interested in has a septic system problem, it may be a $20k+ fix and sometimes not even fixable legally.

A home valued at about $160k probably would pay less than $4,000 property tax, and unless in a flood zone would surely pay less than $1,000 for insurance unless you buy a super shrunken deductible. Around here such a house would be unlikely to have that many bathrooms or such a large garage though.
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