A special meeting of Summit Hill Borough Council will be held at 7 p.m. today, and the only issue on the agenda will be sanitary sewage and storm water issues.

It's an important meeting because it could potentially mean a lot of expense for the borough's residents somewhere down the road, or major regulatory changes in the near future, or both.

In the past several months, residents have been complaining about sewage and storm water coming into their basements, especially after heavy rain.

The complaints were especially prevalent during a council meeting last Monday when about a dozen people attended, one of those residents saying that as much as 2 1/2 to three feet of liquid came into his basement.

Some residents feel that the problem might be evolving from a new sewer line installed on Pine Street (Route 902) last summer. Borough engineer Ronald Tirpak will be at the meeting and is expected to have some answers regarding this theory.

There are residents who feel that because the sewerage system is a century old, that problems are now developing. Borough Council President Joseph Weber said major improvements to the sanitary sewerage system could quadruple sewage rates.

Many people feel a major problem is that storm water runoff is flowing into the sewerage system through basements and possibly direct exterior drain hookups. Corrective measures would mean the installation of sump pumps by residents and the sealing off of the basement and exterior connections.

It might be a combination of the above that have caused frustration to those who have had the basement water.

Whatever the problems, they must be addressed. This, in itself, is a big task considering the borough already is at its maximum borrowing limits and the poor economy will be burdensome for homeowners faced with costly corrective mandates.

The meeting will not be just for the council to discuss the problems, but for residents to join in the discussion and present potential solutions as well as to direct the council to the specific parts of the town where the problems exist.

The only way the council and its engineer can totally assess the problem is to hear the complete details about them. Without residents attending the meeting and speaking up, the solutions will remain evasive.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]