Goal of Newtown Act 537 Plan: Approval From DEP by End of 2012
Newtown's sanitary sewer enforcement officer James MacCombie presented an update of the township's Act 537 planning module at a supervisors meeting on Aug. 13.
NEWTOWN SQUARE–James MacCombie, Newtown Township's sanitary sewer enforcement officer, of Herbert E. MacCombie Jr., P.E., Consulting Engineers and Surveyors, Inc., presented the Board of Supervisors and the public with an updated sewer planning module for the Act 537 Plan.
MacCombie was hired by the township last August as a third-party engineer to review the final draft of the Act 537 Plan. A new plan of study for the Act 537 Plan was submitted by MacCombie in early January.
According to MacCombie, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave approval for the township to move ahead with developing a new sewer plan for the township in February.
Since then, MacCombie shared the current status of the plan:
- Sewer engineer has sent out surveys to all neighborhoods in the Central Delaware County Authority (CDCA) service area that are not currently serviced, and which have not been previously surveyed, to confirm information regarding sewer needs with approximately 30 percent response;
- Currently developing cost estimates to build infrastructure, to allow completion of comparing alternatives (i.e., low pressure versus gravity, routing of sewer mains, locations of pump stations); and
- Looked at capacity of what flow is needed within the township to adequately serve the residents within the CDCA. Originally documented that there was approximately 961,675 gallons of flow that was needed and pending request from Upper Providence to get another 103,000 gallons of sewage. "In my opinion, the township didn’t need the 103,000 additional gallons," said MacCombie. "Some of the developers actually requested lower amounts of flow than they previously did and with this–currently there's approximately 22,000 gallons a day of sewage–that would open for any fill-in areas that weren't previously addressed."
Some key goals/dates for the Act 537 plan:
- Goal is to have a completed plan for public review by late August or early September. Public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed plan, but public input is welcomed now;
- Goal is to have DEP submission by mid-October and DEP approval by the end of 2012; and
- If approval is obtained by 2012, and not appealed, the goal is for system construction to being within 12 months of approval date (including system design, bidding and contract negotiation).
Recommended ordinance amendment:
- When sewer is available, "opting out" of the system will not be permitted;
- Homeowner that has a functioning system and passes annual inspections, may be able to defer connection (postpone costs of connecting and grinder pump purchase and installation, with agreement to pay tap-in fee immediately); and
- Deferment will end at sale of property or 15 years, whichever is sooner.
Echo Valley sewer system recommendation:
- MacCombie recommends a low-pressure sewer system to be provided in Echo Valley versus a gravity sewer system "because of Lewis Run and the environmental constraints that are out there, the locations of the houses out there, and the undulation of the ground...not flowing in one continuous direction...low-pressure sewer system is the most cost effective method to service the Echo Valley area," said MacCombie.
- Homeowners serviced by low-pressure systems may see the following costs–$5,500-$6,000 for grinder pumps; purchase and installation is estimated at $4,900-$6,700-financing this portion is the homeowner's responsibility, may be more or less dependent on the distance from the home to sewer line; tap-in fee estimated between $4,500-$6,000; and annual sewer rents upon connection.
Florida Park sewer system recommendation:
- MacCombie recommends a gravity sewer system "because of the nature of the lots and the size of the lots...provided that we can get the flow to certain aspects of the property, mainly national developers," said MacCombie.
- Homeowners serviced by gravity systems may see the following costs–$2,000-$3,000 for purchase and installation, financing this portion is the homeowner's responsibility and may be more or less dependent on the distance from the home to sewer line; tap-in fee estimated between $4,500-$6,000; and annual sewer rents upon connection.
View the attached PDF file to the right for more information on the updated Act 537 Plan.