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Deadline approaching

  • DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Ted Bogosh, West Penn Township Sewage Facilities plan chairman, asks the township engineer on Monday for an update of the project timetable.
    DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Ted Bogosh, West Penn Township Sewage Facilities plan chairman, asks the township engineer on Monday for an update of the project timetable.
Published April 05. 2011 05:00PM

Despite making progress, West Penn Township might not meet a state-designated deadline for its updated Act 537 Sewage Facilities plan.

At Monday's board of supervisors meeting, township engineer Ronald B. Madison, P.E., senior project manager with RETTEW of Schuylkill Haven, said there are still some hurdles, such as the 30-day and 60-day review periods for Schuylkill County planning and township planning, plus the fact that "not meeting soil testing deadlines" is throwing a snag into the best made plans.

"I do not think we'll meet our June 30 deadline," said Madison.

Madison was asked by Ted Bogosh, township resident and sewage project chairman, to provide an overview of the current scenario.

"I'm asking the engineer for an update of the timeline in order to meet DEP deadlines," said Bogosh as he and a group of 20 residents waited for the board and engineer to return from an executive session regarding other matters.

The Act 537 Sewage Facilities plan actually involves several villages and two municipalities, the other being Walker Township in the Clamtown-Reynolds region.

A key component of the project has been percolation tests on soil at various locations, necessitating the use of eminent domain in order for the township to access certain land for testing.

Township solicitor Gretchen Sterns said a few properties were subject to special considerations, such as one property held in the name of many siblings and another, which happens to be under an agricultural program in which guidelines prevent digging.

Those are situations that require time, she said, in addition to other factors, including communication between the two townships and all involved parties.

A joint special meeting of the two townships took place on March 24. At that time, the townships executed an intermunicipal agreement for the cost sharing and completion of the plan.

"Due to the lack of site access, the project schedule and budget has been greatly impacted," reported Madison.

Madison said a schedule of public meetings would lead up to the adoption of the Act 537 plan update. On Thursday, April 28, the updated plan then would be presented, which would start a 30-day public review period. That would be followed by a public hearing on Tuesday, May 31.

The plan would then be slated for final adoption on Tuesday, June 28.

But those dates might be difficult to meet, said Madison.

It is unclear at this point what would occur at the state level should West Penn fail to meet the Department of Environmental Protection deadline.

In a related matter, RCAP Solutions will provide a proposal to conduct income surveys within the four villages of South Tamaqua, Clamtown, Andreas and Snyders in order to prepare the 2012 Community Development Block Grant application for the anticipated sewage facilities.

In another matter, the engineers will begin work on the South Tamaqua Coal Pockets truck crossing warning signs.

The meeting began with Chairman Alfonso Martinez leading the board and attendees in a moment of silence in memory of TIMES NEWS writer Joseph M. Plasko, Tamaqua, who passed away March 22.

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