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Sewer Committee initiates inflow, infiltration elimination program

Published May 05. 2011 05:40PM

The seriousness of water seeping into the basements and cellars of some Slatington homes has resulted in the Public Works Department contacting property owners in the borough for permission to inspect their homes and the privately-owned sewer laterals for unauthorized connections and leaks in the sewer system. As part of the Borough's "Inflow and Infiltration Elimination Program," a letter was sent to residents in the Maple Springs, Oakhurst area by the Borough Sewer Committee advising them of upcoming inspections. The letter also stated that if consent is not given to allow the inspection, "the Borough will approach Slatington district Judge Rod Beck for a search warrant to allow entry."

This decision to inspect properties comes on the heels of many residents attending Borough Council meetings in the past months complaining about water in their basements after a heavy rain. Despite the fact that Council President Galen Freed reminded the residents that they must remember that the flooding occurred after 5 and 12 inches of rain, the complaints persisted. Some residents said they had as much as two feet of water in their basement. Freed also told the residents that the Borough took care of pipes, and did all they can do on the public side. The water causing the flooding," Freed said, "is coming through private pipes."

Freed's statement did little to convince residents that the Borough did not play a part in the flooding problems. One resident claimed the problem was a result of a curb that was repaired and not graded properly. Others blamed sump pumps that are being used in private homes that stress the drains. After several Borough meetings with numerous grievances, the Council agreed to reimburse residents who showed up at the meeting and who experienced flooding problems to have a check valve installed by a plumber. Three thousand dollars of the budget was allocated for this expenditure, with an individual spending ceiling of $500. The check valves are a temporary situation that will suffice until there's a resolution.

Because the public pipes and sewers are repaired, the next step is to inspect homes for private lateral problems, including unauthorized sump pumps through an inspection process. The inspection will consist of a person physically viewing the interior of the home and inserting a camera into the private sewer lateral, which runs from the home to the curb. The camera will record the condition of the lateral. Smoke testing might also be done, if needed.

If the inspection finds unauthorized connections and sump pumps connected to the sewer system, or privately-owned sewer laterals that allow water to enter the public system they can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000 per day.

Residents with questions are asked to attend the next Slatington Sewer Committee meeting on May 16 at 6:30 pm. Sewer Committee meetings are held on the third Monday of every month.

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