State, county prompt township to enforce pumping and maintenance rules
By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times
POCOPSON — During Monday’s Township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Chair Steve Conary told those in attendance of the township’s intent to create a Septage Management Plan to ensure all septic systems located in the township are operating properly.
Conary recently met with representatives from the County Health Department and PA Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the matter and municipalities “must have a Septage Management Plan in place that includes what residents can put down the drain, water conservation, pumping schedules and enforceable maintenance steps.”
Conary said the current township ordinance states that on-lot septic systems must be pumped at least every three years but the ordinance has not been enforced. He noted that the majority of private township residences use an on-lot septic system which either consists of a septic tank and absorption field or a cesspool.
The township is considering whether to subscribe to a county data service to receive information collected from licensed Septic Contractors. Companies operating within the county must report anyone having their septic tank pumped as well as any maintenance issues pertaining to the system. Conary would like the township to subscribe at the highest level to receive monthly reports in order “get the plan under our belt” and then scale back the frequency of reporting over time.
Supervisors’ Vice-Chair, Georgia Brutscher recommended the issue be put on the agenda of township Home Owners’ Association meetings to educate residents.
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Conary restated the Township’s position regarding Chester County’s proposal to implement a per capita fee on municipalities to help pay for county emergency services facilities.
The Unionville Times’ Managing Editor, Kathleen Brady Shea, reported on June 20 that the county is trying to defray about $2.6 million in 9-1-1 expenses.
Conary said supervisors wrote a letter to the county stating the accountability for the facilities belongs in the hands of the county and stressed that if the burden is placed on municipalities, then municipalities will end up raising their taxes to cover the fees.
Conary said Brutscher attended a commissioners meeting earlier in the month and “was challenged by the fact that the township’s financial report states we had assets of 2.8 million dollars at the end of 2010.” Brutscher said county officials asked why the township was not willing to spend some of that surplus to help fund County Emergency Services. Conary explained, “What the individual reading the reports did not understand is that there are a lot of statutory restrictions on the funds that we have.”
He stated that although the township did have $2.8 million at the end of 2010, “about a million of it was open space tax revenue which by PA Law can only be spent on open space…we had close to a million dollars that was a state grant, county funding and funding from court settlements on road projects that were specifically designated for road projects, and we had roughly 75,000 that was a state grant and private donations slated for renovations to the Locust Grove School House.”
Conary said the township has enough money “to get it from one year to the next” and although it would be ideal to have a surplus – it does not work out that way, “so we maintain, this is a county service that should be funded by the county and if they have to raise the taxes to pay for it, so be it…raise the taxes.”
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Supervisors approved, with several conditions, the Bittle property subdivision, located on Route 842. More than 30 acres will be subdivided into three (3), ten plus acre lots.
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The township’s Director of Public Works, Mark Knightly, reported that the pedestrian bridge over the Lenni trail was replaced because of damage sustained during hurricane Irene. Knightly said the township applied for Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) funds and were approved for $3,200 but told Supervisors his crew was able to replace the bridge for less because Pocopson Industries donated $1200 worth of timber.
Officials thanked the Mara family, owners of Pocopson Industries, for their generosity.