Penn. to help communities plan, maintain sewage systems

Governor Edward G. Rendell underscored the importance of planning and maintaining adequate sewage systems to foster economic growth and a better quality of life for citizens by announcing new investments for nearly 140 communities in 52 counties. The Governor said these investments will help communities, townships and municipal authorities of all sizes provide safe and clean water to their citizens and customers...

HARRISBURG, PA, Aug. 29, 2008 -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today underscored the importance of planning and maintaining adequate sewage systems to foster economic growth and a better quality of life for citizens by announcing new investments for nearly 140 communities in 52 counties.

The Governor said these investments will help communities, townships and municipal authorities of all sizes provide safe and clean water to their citizens and customers.

"Just as with any component of our infrastructure, as Pennsylvania's sewage facilities and systems age, our ability to provide needed services and protect the public's health and safety is impaired," said Governor Rendell. "We've worked hard to invest in and rebuild our infrastructure. The grants we're announcing today are a continuation of those efforts, and will help municipalities provide the reliable wastewater services needed to ensure clean water, protect against diseases, and support economic development."

The Governor announced more than $2.2 million today through the Department of Environmental Protection's sewage facilities enforcement grant and sewage facilities planning grant programs.

The more than $1.8 million in enforcement grants will help municipalities ensure compliance with on-lot sewage system requirements. The grants reimburse local governments for costs associated with permitting these systems.

The remaining $415,000 in planning grants was awarded to municipalities, counties and municipal authorities to reimburse the costs associated with preparing and revising official plans that ensure the adequate operation and maintenance of sewage facilities.

The Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, known as Act 537, requires municipalities -- either individually or as members of multi-municipal sewage agencies -- to enforce on-lot sewage system requirements. Requirements include evaluating and permitting new systems, properly repairing malfunctioning systems, and investigating complaints in a timely manner.

Act 537 authorizes DEP to reimburse local governments for up to 85 percent of the annual costs associated with enforcement and up to 50 percent of the cost associated with preparing a sewage facilities official plan.

These duties are carried out by sewage enforcement officers, who must pass a state-administered test in order to be certified by a state board and are responsible for ensure that new and repaired on-lot systems are properly sited, designed, permitted and inspected.

>>For more information on sewage facilities enforcement and planning grants in Pennsylvania
>>View the list, by county, of the $1,877,990.56 in Act 537 Sewage Facilities Enforcement Grants and $415,086.33 in Act 537 Sewage Facilities Planning Grants

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