Pennsylvania government announces $73,136 in sewage facility enforcement grants

The Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental Protection announced more than $73,000 in Sewage Facilities Enforcement Grants for reimbursement of costs associated with permitting on-lot sewage systems.

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 19, 2003 -- On behalf of Governor Edward G. Rendell, Secretary of Environmental Protection Kathleen A. McGinty announced more than $73,000 in Sewage Facilities Enforcement Grants to 19 municipalities for reimbursement of costs associated with permitting on-lot sewage systems.

"Malfunctioning sewage systems are one of the leading causes of waterborne illnesses in Pennsylvania," Secretary McGinty said. "By providing support to municipalities to keep these facilities in compliance, we ensure the safety of our drinking water supplies and protect public health. Effective management of our water resources also gives the state a competitive advantage and helps to improve the quality of life in our communities."

As many as 25,000 on-lot sewage permits are issued each year in Pennsylvania. About 2,000 of those permits are issued by local agencies to repair malfunctions in existing systems.

This fiscal year, more than $5 million will be reimbursed to 222 recipients through Sewage Facilities Enforcement Grants. The Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, commonly known as Act 537, authorizes DEP to reimburse local governments up to 85 percent of the annual costs incurred in ensuring that new and repaired on-lot systems are properly sited, designed, permitted and inspected.

Specifically, Act 537 requires municipalities, either individually or as members of multi-municipal sewage agencies, to enforce on-lot sewage system requirements, including evaluation and permitting of new systems, proper repair of malfunctioning systems and timely complaint investigations. These duties are carried out by Sewage Enforcement Officers, who must pass a state- administered test to receive certification from a state board.

For more information on sewage facilities enforcement grants, visit the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us, Keyword: "DEP Act 537."

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