Walker, West Penn townships to meet with state DEP over joint sewer plan
Representatives from Walker and West Penn townships will be meeting with state Department of Environmental Protection officials to flush out what needs to be done with their joint Act 537 plan.
Ron Madison, an engineer with Rettew Associates, submitted the plan in October of 2013. DEP kicked it back Dec. 9, requesting 10 corrections.
The Rettew plan addresses wildcat sewers, which are unpermitted sewer lines that discharge untreated sewage, and the lack of proper sewage treatment in four main service areas: Andreas, south Tamaqua, Clamtown/Reynolds and Snyders.
Madison addressed the Walker Township board during its meeting Thursday. He said the meeting with DEP will be held at 10 a.m. April 28 at the Wilkes-Barre office.
Walker supervisors expressed concern about the amount of their financial responsibility as the project moves forward after the DEP meeting.
The two townships have been sharing the cost of developing the plan using a formula which was based on the original needs assessments for both townships. According to that agreement, West Penn paid 82 percent and Walker 18 percent.
Now that the problem areas have been specifically identified, with the bulk of the Act 537 implementation taking place in West Penn Township, both Chairman Bill McMullen and Vice-chairmen Bill Wagner said that the formula should be readjusted, and their solicitor agreed.
"In light of the way the numbers have changed, we'll have to hammer out a new agreement," solicitor Mike Greek said. "We'll have to renegotiate."
After the DEP meeting, the Walker supervisors hope to schedule a joint meeting between their board and the West Penn board.
Work on the West Penn Act 537 plan has been ongoing since 2003, when Ludgate Engineering Firm developed a community sewage plan with a $17 million price tag.
Rettew has developed a plan with a smaller scale, which focuses on five villages with problem areas. The Rettew plan comes with a significantly smaller price tag, $1 million.
Also, Madison said that the project could qualify for a Commonwealth Financing Authority grant, which provides monies funded through Act 13, which involves natural gas drilling tariffs.
There are seven programs in the CFA, and one, the Sewage Facilities Program, provides grants of up to $100,000 for costs associated with planning work under Act 537.
In other action, Dave Horst from Alfred Benesch & Co., the township's engineer, discussed a list of possible road projects.
He suggested doing paving work on Shady Lane and doing base replacement work on Wildcat, River and Reynolds roads.
The supervisors took no immediate action, taking the information provided with them for further study.
The supervisors voted to apply for a recreation grant through the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission. They appointed Ben Turrano to represent Walker Township as the nonelected member on the ESRC board.