Penn. DEP orders township to implement sewage plan

The Penn. DEP has ordered Northampton Township, Bucks County, to implement a sewage plan that would provide service to more than 400 homes and businesses in its west end, where on-lot septic systems have been failing for more than a decade. The order stipulates that the township take immediate steps to implement the sewage plan that DEP first approved in 1997. The plan is to be implemented in phases, with construction to begin by Oct. 1 and to be completed by Oct. 1, 2012...

NORRISTOWN, PA, April 30, 2008 -- The Penn. Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Northampton Township, Bucks County, to implement a sewage plan that would provide service to more than 400 homes and businesses in its west end, where on-lot septic systems have been failing for more than a decade.

The order stipulates that the township take immediate steps to implement the sewage plan that DEP first approved in 1997. The plan is to be implemented in phases, with construction to begin by Oct. 1 and to be completed by Oct. 1, 2012.

Under the order, township officials are required to submit progress reports to the department every 30 days. The township must also submit complete applications for DEP permits by May 1.

"Northampton Township can't continue to allow septic systems to fail after committing to provide public sewers," said DEP Regional Director Joseph Feola. "Having a safe and sanitary sewage collection system is a human health issue. Sewage plans are not developed simply to be shelved for years, collecting dust. This project must move forward."

In 1997, DEP approved a plan proposed by the township that called for a public sewage system to serve the Harvest Acres, Grenoble Manor and Traymore neighborhoods, as well as an industrial area. After DEP approved the plan, Northampton Township officials requested a 50 percent reimbursement for the sewage planning costs, which DEP granted.

Since that time, however, no sewers have been constructed, while existing systems continued to age and new homes were built with on-lot septic systems.

In March 2007, DEP initiated negotiations with the township to determine a mutually agreeable course for it to fulfill its sewage facilities obligation. Negotiations reached an impasse when township supervisors voted unanimously on April 9 not to enter into a bilateral agreement with DEP to do what had been agreed to in 1997.

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Also see:
-- "DEP responds to dam safety program audit"
-- "DEP reminds pool owners to handle wastewater safely

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