NEWTOWN SQUARE–A decision was finally made at Monday night's Newtown Township Board of Supervisors meeting on the fate of the sewer system proposed in the Echo Valley section of Newtown Township.
Supervisors unanimously approved to move forward with the Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan that will include Echo Valley running on a gravity sewer system. James MacCombie, township sewer engineer on the project, orginally proposed the $25 million Act 537 Plan to have 112 Echo Valley homes serviced by a low-pressure sewer system and only a handful with a gravity sewer system.
However, at a special meeting held on Feb. 4, Echo Valley residents stood up and shared their concerns over having a low pressure system versus a gravity sewer system. At the end of the nearly four-hour meeting, supervisors decided to postpone the approval of the originally proposed Act 537 Plan until they viewed the neighborhood itself and where the proposed sewer line would be placed.
On Monday night, Supervisors Chairman Joe Catania addressed the public that township officials and MacCombie's older brother Herbert and David Porter, engineers of Consulting Engineers And Surveyors, Inc., met with approximately 20 Echo Valley neighbors last Friday morning to do a walk-through of the site where the sewer line would be place to determine any environmental issues that may occur.
According to Catania, it was concluded that there would be minimal, if any, environmental impact, based off of the advice of Herbert MacCombie.
"As Herbie [MacCombie] said, there's no reason why it [sewer line] couldn't go before the tree lines started on a property," said Catania.
The amended plan will now also show a change in capacity to pump stations. No new pump stations will be added but the Goshen Road pump station will increase in flow to have all of Echo Valley flow to it, said MacCombie.
"The lower area will receive 51,000 gallons per day less sewage than what was originally anticipated," explained MacCombie. "That flow would be diverted to the Ashford pump station.
According to MacCombie, the Ashford pump station is currently permitted to have a flow of 115,000 gallons per day but is designed to have 213,000 gallons per day of sewage. The increased flow, which will include the Ashford property, Episcopal Academy and the other service areas, will increase the flow to 207,000 gallons per day which is still below the 213,000 gallons per day threshold.
Several easements will be needed for the installation of the gravity sewer system. According to Porter, the following homes on Crum Creek Lane would potentially need easements for a potential dual sewer line: 309, 311, 313, 315, 317, 319, 321, and 323. In addition, an easement may be needed from 310 and 312 Echo Valley Lane to connect to the Crum Creek sewer line, and a rightaway from 4110 and 4112 Battles Lane to connect to the Battles Lane line.
Once the amended plan for the Echo Valley sewage plan has been advertised, which will occur in the next couple of days, a 30-day public comment period will begin. The engineers will respond and address the comments and the plan will then go forward to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The DEP then has 130 days to respond to the township's proposed Act 537 Plan in which an appeal period will begin. The design period and bidding process for the design could potentially take about a year and a half, according to MacCombie.
The bidding could either be done all at once or in piecemeal, depending on the financial environment, according to MacCombie. Construction could then take another year to two years for the sewer lines to be built.