Engineer Gives More Details on Newtown Sewer Plan

James MacCombie presented to the Newtown Township supervisors and the public with updated details on the Act. 537 Plan.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–James MacCombie, Newtown Township's sanitary sewer enforcement officer, of Herbert E. MacCombie Jr., P.E., Consulting Engineers and Surveyors, Inc., presented to the Board of Supervisors and the public with a second public presentation of the Act 537 Plan on Monday night.

MacCombie stressed that the plan is "fluid" and "not a final document." MacCombie said they are open for comments from the public. MacCombie received approximately 69 questions on the Act 537 Plan from residents during the public review period last month. 

What's Proposed in the Plan: East vs. West

The eastern area in the township will be serviced by a pump station located at the , that would service Episcopal Academy's property and the eastern portion of Echo Valley (which would be serviced by a low-pressure sewer system).

Another pump station will be located on BPG's property that would run down Rt. 252 and tie into and existing terminal manhole that lies adjacent to Delaware County Community College along Rt. 252 and South Media Line Road. The pump station is anticipated to be approximately 155,140 gallons.

The western area in the township will be serviced by a gravity sewer system. A pump station has been proposed to be built on Melmark's campus and have a capacity of approximately 25,000 gallons which would be pumped to Hunt Valley Circle, where another proposed pump station will be located of 32,500 gallons.

The Hunt Valley pump station will then run by gravity through a portion (western) of Echo Valley. Another pump station has been proposed along Goshen Road that would take a portion of Boot Road and the surrounding areas of Goshen Road and pump that up to the Marville property on Rt. 3.

The Marville pump station will then run by gravity through Marville's property to the southern portion of Rt. 3 for another proposed pump station at the Olde Master's Golf site with a capacity of approximately 262,900 gallons, which would allow the Florida Park neighborhood to be completely serviced by gravity.

That pump station will then run by gravity up to Campus Blvd., across Bishop Hollow Road, and tie into a proposed pump station at Springton Pointe Estates. The existing Springton Pointe pump station will be removed and replaced with an approximate control of 337,000 gallons per day. According to MacCombie, approximately 150,000 of those gallons will be from commercial businesses, mainly domestic wastes in nature and not industrial wastes.

New Recommendations

MacCombie stated that several residents had concerns about odor control, noise control, and aesthetics of the pump stations.

MacCombie offered the following recommendation for odor control: a bioxide tank will be located inside a small building on the property. Odors that arise will be neutralized by hydrogen sulfide within the bioxide tank.

In regards to noise control: the noise level will be minimal, said MacCombie, since the pump lines will be located beneath the ground.

And, for aesthetics and locations, instead of crossing through streams and wetlands, which will be requested with a permit, residents have asked to put another line down Rt. 3 and Rt. 252. According to MacCombie, the length of that line is 3.462 miles which will determine an additional approximate cost of $5.7 million. 

New Updates

A few of the new updates included approximately 83 easements that would be required to construct the pump stations and sewer lines. MacCombie said he would personally talk with these neighbors.

In addition, MacCombie said he has been in contact with Edgmont Township in which Edgmont is now interested and willing to work with Newtown as far as involving a sewer line down Gradyville Road and providing sewer capacity to that area.

"Edgmont Township is currently working with Delcora as far as moving along the project," said MacCombie. If the partnership with Edgmont pans out, cost-savings will incur for the township.

Future-needs areas have been proposed on the plan in which onsite sewer will be available. 

An overall anticipated construction cost for the Act 537 Plan is approximately $25 million townsip-wide, according to MacCombie. The tap-in fees will run in between $4,500 to $6,000, added MacCombie. And the annual user fee will be between $500 to $750.

According to MacCombie, the township's underwriter ran an analysis on the debt service rate, or how much it will cost annually to fund the $25 million project, in which he believed the township and Municipal Authority would be able to get that money. Other budgetary constraints involved the township paying approximately $157,000 out of the capital reserve fund toward the Central Delaware County Authority (CDCA) and maintenance repairs and line expansion of that line for the past two years, said MacCombie.

"After looking at all the budgetary constraints, it is my opinion that the tap-in fee would be $6,000 and, originally, the user fee would be $574 for the first five years years and go up to approximately $738 from year six to 10," said MacCombie. 

The annual user fee will also include, not just the new connections but everybody in the township. 

In addition, a deferred ordinance is anticipated and going to give property owners up to 15 years to make that connection, or in the event that property is sold, said MacCombie.  

What's Next

The Planning Commission is expected to vote on the Act 537 Plan at their meeting this Thursday, Dec. 13, where another information meeting on the plan will be held.

Supervisors had scheduled to vote on the Act 537 Plan at the Dec. 27th meeting but after the urging of several residents to reconsider, the vote may not happen. A couple of the reasons why the township had hoped for a decision at the Dec. 27th meeting included a $250/day fine if not met by PennDOT's timeline and taking advantage of the low interest rates.

Supervisors Chairman Joe Catania said the township will look into having meetings by neighborhood with MacCombie or David Porter, a project engineer at Herbert E. MacCombie, Jr., PE, Consulting Engineers and Surveyors, Inc., who has also worked on the plan.

Catania said residents will have to check the township website every other day to see whether or not a meeting will be held for that particular neighborhood as the fastest way to notify residents of a neighborhood meeting on 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.

 as well as some key details and potential costs to neighbors in the Echo Valley and Florida Park sections of the neighborhood, in which Echo Valley would have a low-pressure sewer system and Florida Park would have a gravity system.


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