West Cocalico keeps sewer plans moving along

By on June 27, 2018

Sewer infrastructure was a big topic June 18 in what even chairman James J. Stoner conceded was mostly a “boring meeting” sparsely attended by four or five residents. However, the board did chew on weighty issues such as extending public sewer according to the township’s existing “537 plan” with the West Cocalico Township Authority that’s responsible for handling public water and sewer systems in the municipality.

The township and the authority are planning to acquire 16 acres of which the authority will use 5.5 acres for a new sewer treatment plant, in order to bring public sewer to Blainsport, Resh Road and other areas.

Township manager Carolyn Hildebrand began the discussion by reporting to the board that a survey required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found no bog turtles, which would have triggered additional environmental regulations.
“It allows us to be able to have a green light for the parcel that we’re looking at,” Hildebrand said. She said it might take the state Department of Environmental Protection six months to a year to process the plan. Supervisors cited a goal of having the project completed by 2021.

The extension, Hildebrand said, is needed. “We’re being very careful to only add on when they need it,” she said, noting the township wants to try to keep sewer rate increases under $10 per household. “It’s not a big jump.”

Supervisors agreed.

“It’s time to keep moving it along now,” Stoner said of the sewer extension process.

Although sewer rates may not go sky-high, the board was very sensitive to the concerns of residents who may have to update their on-lot systems according to a three-year review plan that’s part of township ordinance.

“We’re trying to keep the costs as minimal as we possibly can,” Stoner said. “We have good people working on it, working in the right direction.”

The next township authority meeting, he said, will bring clarity.
“It’s going to be a lot easier to dissect and digest,” he said.
“We’ll be able to make more of a better decision,” supervisor Jeff Sauder agreed.

“The faster it can get done, the better,” said roadmaster Tom Showalter, advocating for those who need new public sewer to keep their properties in good condition. “Time is of the essence.”

Showalter suggested that lack of public sewer infrastructure is now hurting the ability of those in the Reinholds area to improve the real estate situation there.

“You don’t need to be a metropolis,” he said, “but you need a little (real estate) growth.”

Stoner also talked about properties that may not get lender approval because of sewer woes, and properties where public sewer is needed sooner rather than later.

“I don’t know if there’s another answer (to lighten the financial burden on property owners) but it needs to be talked about,” Stoner said. “There’s a bigger picture than what you visibly see.”

Hildebrand asked the board to vote on a new change to the township’s sewer ordinance that she said is critical for 537 plan updates. The ordinance, which was approved for advertisement by supervisors later in the meeting, revises regulations for on-lot sewage disposal and adds regulations on holding tanks.

After a public review period of 30 days, the board can vote to adopt the new ordinance.

In comments June 19, Hildebrand said the township will try to make sure that residents who don’t have public sewer will avoid “double costs” associated with updating a system, and then being forced to join up with public sewer later. “We will do everything we can to avoid that,” she said. “We’re trying to do the right thing for the residents.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *