A needs-assessment survey, currently being redone in West Penn Township and Walker Township to evaluate sewer needs in the areas, is nearly two-thirds complete.
Township Engineer Ronald B. Madison, PE, said at last evening's West Penn Township board of supervisors meeting that the survey is showing far less residential homes that have severe septic issues than indicated by the first assessment done in 2003, which the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) felt needed to be redone because of the age of the data and to try to find a more manageable cost for the townships.
DEP has mandated the Act 537 sewer plan. As a part of the Clean Streams Law, which had been created to regulate the amount of raw sewage and other pollutants that go into the waterways of Pennsylvania, failing waste systems in residential homes in Walker and West Penn townships allegedly exceed the limit of acceptable pollution, according to DEP standards.
Ludgate, the engineering company in charge of implementing the project prior to Rettew, was in charge of conducting the survey to assess the project needs the first time around. The original Ludgate results showed an estimated $11.5 million to carry out the project, which in the end will cost the residents who have the systems installed a $104-a-month sewer bill.
Sewage Enforcement Officer Scott C. Bieber of Lehigh Soils and Wetlands has been hired to redo the survey "in hopes that the true sewage needs may not be as dire as what was indicated in the 2003 surveys," Madison said at Walker's February meeting.
The goal is to evaluate as close to 100 percent of the homes shown from the first survey to have failing waste systems the idea being that the more data there is about the study areas, the better the chances there are at reducing the price of the project. Madison indicated that this method is paying off, and it looks like the price will be reduced, but to what exactly is not yet known.
Moving on, last evening's meeting marked the halfway point for the year. Supervisor James G. Dean wanted to know whether the budget was on track. Given that this winter did less damage than usual to the roads, according to Township Treasurer Karen Wittig, the road crew budget is 3.6 percent ahead for the year.
Lastly, the board reported that donations for signs on Archery Club Road have reached $260 of its $851 goal. When that amount is reached, the road will have the 25 mph speed limit signs along it that residents have been requesting for months now.
Next board of supervisors meeting is on Monday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.