Prepare to pump

By on October 10, 2018

West Cocalico residents required to have sewer systems pumped regularly

In June, West Cocalico supervisors passed an ordinance requiring residents to have their on-lot sewer systems pumped regularly, and to submit documentation to the township office.

Township staff have told The Ephrata Review that the state Department of Environmental Protection will not approve the township’s 537 sewer plan without the ordinance in place.

At the Oct. 5 supervisors meeting, township manager Carolyn Hildebrand presented a letter to the board showing what homeowners must do to comply. There’s a $25 fee for documenting the pumping of an on-lot system; another $25 late fee also applies.

The process of documenting and verifying pumping for all residents is going to happen over the phased three-year period: residents in “district one” as designated by the township, are going to get letters within a few weeks; those in two other districts will receive the notifications in 2019 and 2020 respectively, with corresponding deadlines.

Homeowners in district one have until June 2019 to provide proof of pumping within a three year period: if the system has already been pumped within three years, a property owner does not have to pump it again, but the documentation still needs to get to the township office. Haulers should be providing documentation to their customers.

Township outreach materials talk about the benefits of having sewer systems pumped regularly. Some of them are for property owners — no one wants a nasty and expensive drainfield issue. Regular pumping also helps to extend the life of a sewer system. It also helps with the township’s stormwater plan as required by the state.

“We’re going to get a lot of questions,” Hildebrand told the board. “We’re trying to provide (residents) with some information.”

Property owners in the township should be seeing those letters soon; supervisors discussed a notification program that would give a household many months of notice to pump by a required time.

The board also discussed fixes to two township bridges: Mill Road Bridge and Horseshoe Trail Bridge.

Chairman James J. Stoner said on his survey of local roads, he found that Mill Road Bridge is “holding up fine” but Horseshoe Trail Bridge is still a problem.

“I was dumbfounded,” Stoner said, describing a large crack on one side of the bridge.

Significant conversation revolved around whether to purchase a steel plate in order to stabilize the bridge until a more comprehensive repair can be done.

“I’m getting a little concerned,” Stoner said. “The beams are very questionable.”

“I guess we have to do something,” said supervisor Leon Eby.

Supervisor Jeff Sauder noted that steel plates can be re-used for future projects.

“I think we move forward with getting the steel,” Sauder said. “I know we’re spending some money, but it can be saved and shelved and used for future problems.”

Justin Stoltzfus is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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