The West Penn Township engineer, Ronald B. Madison, PE, presented an updated assessment of the Act 537 plan to the Walker Township board of supervisors on Thursday evening at the municipal building.

Act 537, part of the Clean Streams Law created to regulate sewage and other pollutants that go into the waters of Pennsylvania, is to bring several hundred failing waste systems in West Penn and Walker townships up to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards.

Both townships, however, continuously reject the plan because of its high cost, which would be a $104-a-month sewage bill for residents who have the systems installed. Madison said after the recent meeting with DEP, its concerns paralleled with that of township board members. He presented the board with a proposal for the additional work that needs to be done. In the roughly 10 years that Madison predicts it will take before the survey is recompleted, the combined townships' cost for that span is estimated at $250,000 before the project goes under way.

Madison explained the reason for reconducting this part of the project is because, "There is a perception perhaps that the original needs assessment survey done in 2003 may have been somewhat biased by the idea of high growth that was being seen at that point; in addition, DEP is concerned about the age of the needs assessment."

"[DEP has] pretty much directed us to redo the needs assessment, the door-to-door survey," Madison added, "in hopes that the true sewage needs may not be as dire as what was indicated in the 2003 surveys." If the survey reveals fewer problems than previously, Madison and Walker Township Engineer Dave Horst agree, there is a possibility of isolating the project to individual homes, which might show to be the more cost effective route, rather than taking the route of public expenditure.

Also at the meeting, the board accepted Donohue Excavating & Paving's bid for $119,999 to fix the Catawissa Road Bridge.

Next Walker Township board of supervisors meeting will be on Thursday, Mar. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building.