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Thursday, April 23, 2009

DEP REJECTS SEWAGE PLANS SUBMITTED BY BRADFORD AREA MUNICIPALITIES

DEP Says Current Plans Don’t Guarantee That Sewer System Problems Will Be Solved
MEADVILLE – Concerned about the lack of an intermunicipal agreement that defines a common strategy to deal with significant sewage system shortcomings, the Department of Environmental Protection has decided not to approve sewage plans, referred to as Act 537 plans, that were submitted by the city of Bradford, Bradford Township, Lafayette Township and Lewis Run Borough.

The municipalities, along with Foster Township, all utilize the Bradford Sanitary Authority (BSA) system for their sewage disposal. For years, the sewage collection system has been carrying more flow than the system was designed to handle and the BSA sewage conveyance system has experienced raw sewage overflows and the sewage treatment plant has been compromised.

In 2007, BSA and the municipalities entered into a consent order and agreement with DEP that required the elimination of overflows, evaluation of the sewage treatment plant, and, if necessary, expansion of the sewage treatment plant. Under the consent order, the municipalities were required to submit sewage plans that reflected their common commitment to eliminate the sewage overflows and sewage treatment plant shortcomings. The municipalities submitted their Act 537 plans on time but those plans failed to contain an intermunicipal agreement that would assure all necessary work be done.

“DEP needs assurance that all of the municipalities are in this together, that there is an agreement on assigning upgrade costs to each community,” said DEP Regional Director Kelly Burch. “The sewage plans submitted by the four municipalities did not include that agreement and, as a result, the department cannot approve the plans. Without an agreement, there is no commitment that a sewage system fix would be carried out.”

DEP has informed the municipalities that they need to negotiate and submit a finalized intermunicipal agreement that addresses DEP concerns. Under the 2007 consent order and agreement, the communities have 60 days in which to address the deficiencies.

The consent order and agreement calls for all overflows to be eliminated by December 31, 2013.

For more information on sewage systems, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Sewage.

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