[Adopted 3-2-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-02]
Editor's Note: This article also repealed former Art. IV, Sewage Management District, adopted 9-7-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-08.
As mandated by the municipal codes, the Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 691.1 to 691.1001) and the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq.), municipalities have the power and the duty to provide for adequate sewage treatment facilities and for the protection of the public health by preventing the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage. The Official Sewage Facilities Plan for Straban Township has evaluated the need to implement an on-lot management program to effectively prevent potential water pollution and hazards to the public health caused by improper treatment and disposal of sewage.
The purpose of this article is as follows:
To bring and keep the municipality within the requirements of the Clean Streams Law (Act of 1937, P.L. 1987, No. 394) and the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act of 1966, P.L. 1535, No. 537, as amended, known as "Act 537").
To provide for the inspection, pumping, maintenance and rehabilitation of private and public on-lot sewage systems.
To establish penalties and appeal procedures necessary for the proper administration of such a management program.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACT 537
- The Act of January 24, 1966, P.L. 1535, No. 537, as amended, 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., known as the "Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act."
- AUTHORIZED AGENT
- A certified sewage enforcement officer, registered pumper/hauler, code enforcement officer, professional engineer or any other qualified or licensed person who is delegated by the Township to carry out the provisions of this article within specified limits.
- The Board of Supervisors of Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania.
- A below-ground cavity built of loose rock or blocks that provides for the temporary storage of sanitary sewage until the sewage drains into the surrounding area.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (CEO)
- An agent of the Township authorized to administer and enforce this article and other ordinances in the Township.
- COMMUNITY SEWAGE SYSTEM
- Any system, whether publicly or privately owned, for the collection of sewage from two or more lots and the treatment and/or disposal of the sewage on one or more lots or at any other site.
- DEP or DEPARTMENT
- The Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- INDIVIDUAL SEWAGE SYSTEM
- A system of piping, tanks or other facilities serving a single lot and collecting and disposing of sewage in whole or in part into the soil or into any waters of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- A designated parcel, tract or area of land established by a plat or otherwise as permitted by law and to be used, developed or built upon as a unit.
- The condition occurring when an on-lot sewage system causes pollution to groundwater or surface water, contamination of private or public drinking water supplies or nuisance problems or is a hazard to public health. Any treatment or holding tank observed to be leaking, or any instance where sewage is backing up into a building connected to the system, is considered a malfunction. Systems shall be considered to be malfunctioning if any of the conditions noted above occur for any length of time during any period of the year.
- Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania.
- OFFICIAL ACT 537 SEWAGE FACILITIES PLAN
- A comprehensive plan for the provision of adequate sewage disposal systems, adopted by the Township and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, as described in and required by the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act. Hereinafter called the "Plan," it shall mean the Straban Township Act 537 Plan, as amended.
- ON-LOT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
- A comprehensive set of legal and administrative requirements, including this article, the Act, the Clean Streams Law and all regulations and requirements adopted by the Board to enforce and administer this article.
- ON-LOT SEPTIC SYSTEM REPORT
- A form which shall be used by all registered pumpers/haulers to report each pumping of on-lot sewage disposal systems in the Township.
- ON-LOT SEWAGE SYSTEM
- Any system for disposal of sewage involving pretreatment and subsequent disposal of the clarified sewage into the soil for final treatment and disposal, including both individual sewage systems and community sewage systems.
- Any person having an equitable or legal interest in real estate in Straban Township.
- Any individual, association, partnership, public or private corporation whether for profit or not-for-profit, trust, estate or other legally recognized entity.
- REGISTERED PUMPER/HAULER (PUMPER)
- Person or organization licensed by the Adams County Solid Waste Authority and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and registered with Straban Township annually.
- Work done to modify, alter, repair, enlarge or replace an existing on-lot disposal system.
- Any human excrement, other domestic or restaurant waste or other material or substance removed from a portable toilet, septic tank, seepage pit, treatment tank, cesspool or other enclosure used for the storage or decomposition of sewage, but does not include liquid industrial waste.
- SEPTIC SYSTEM REPORT
- The Township form to be completed by the pumper/hauler for each individual tank and forwarded to the Township after each inspection and/or pumping.
- SEPTIC TANK
- A watertight tank that provides for the treatment of sanitary sewage prior to its discharge to an absorption area.
- Any substance that contains any of the waste products or excrement or other discharge from the bodies of human beings or animals, and any noxious or deleterious substance which is harmful or inimical to public health or to animal or aquatic life or to the use of water for domestic water supply or for recreation or which constitutes pollution under the Act of June 22, 1937 (P.L. 1987, No. 394), known as the "Clean Streams Law," as amended.
- SEWAGE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (SEO)
- An agent of the Township DEP certified to issue and review permit applications and conduct such investigations and inspections as are necessary to implement Act 537 and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.
- SEWAGE FACILITIES
- Any method of sewage collection, conveyance, treatment and disposal which will prevent the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage into the waters of this commonwealth or otherwise provide for the safe and sanitary treatment and disposal of sewage.
- SEWAGE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
- Any area or areas within the entire Township. For the purpose of this article, Straban Township will be divided into three pumping districts.
- Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania.
From the effective date of this article, its provisions shall apply to every owner of a lot served by an on-lot sewage system in Straban Township and all persons or businesses servicing on-lot sewage systems (constructing, pumping, inspecting or repairing on-lot sewage systems) within the Township.
Any person owning a building served by an on-lot sewage disposal system shall have the septic tank pumped by a registered pumper/hauler after the effective date of this article on the following reoccurring three-year cycle. See the Sewage Management District Map, a Township map showing the three Districts.
Properties located in Pumping District No. 1 within one year of the effective date of this article. Thereafter, the three-year cycle will be based on the calendar year.
Properties located in Pumping District No. 2 will be pumped within the first calendar year following the effective date of this article. (Initial pumping will be in the year 2010.)
Properties located in Pumping District No. 3 will be pumped within the second calendar year following the effective date of this article (initial pumping will be in the year 2011.)
Editor's Note: Said map is included at the end of this chapter.
The Township shall notify all property owners within each of the sewage management districts served by an on-lot sewage system that their systems must be pumped and inspected within 12 months of the date the notification letter is sent. Any person owning a building served by an on-lot sewage system within the sewage management district which contains a treatment tank shall have the tank pumped by a registered pumper/hauler. The property owner must have his system pumped within the time period specified in the Township's notification letter unless he can provide the Township with a receipt or other written evidence showing that his tank has been pumped within the past one year. Property owners providing such written documentation satisfactory to the Township can request that the Board of Supervisors grant a postponement of the initial required pumping until the end of a three-year period following enactment of this article. The decision to grant or deny the request shall be final.
The registered pumper/hauler shall provide a fully completed and legible septic system report to the Township within 30 days of the date of pumping. The pumper shall mail or hand deliver the septic system report to the Township municipal building at 1745 Granite Station Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325.
Commencing from the date of pumping as prescribed in Subsection A above, removal of septage or other solids from treatment tanks shall be performed every three years or whenever an inspection program reveals the treatment tanks are filled with solids in excess of 1/3 the liquid depth of the tank or filled with scum in excess of 1/3 the liquid depth of the tank.
The required pumping frequency may increase at the discretion of the SEO for the following reasons:
If the tank is undersized;
If solids buildup in the tank is above average;
If the hydraulic load on the system increases significantly above average;
If a garbage grinder is used in the building; or
If the system malfunctions or for other good cause not shown (as determined by the SEO and approved by the Board of Supervisors).
Treatment tanks to be pumped more frequently than the required three years must have a septic system report prepared and provided to the Township within 30 days of each pumping occurrence.
Tanks shall be deemed to be pumped when all organic solids are removed and the total average liquid depth remaining in the tank is less than one inch.
Holding tanks shall be pumped out at intervals that prevent the overflow, leakage, backup and other malfunctions characteristic of an overloaded system.
The owner of a property upon which an on-lot sewage system is constructed shall maintain the area around such system so as to provide convenient access for inspection, maintenance and pumping and divert surface water and downspouts away from the absorption area and other on-lot sewage system components.
Tanks shall only be pumped from/through the manhole/access port, i.e., the largest tank opening. Tanks shall not be pumped from/through the observations port.
Any person owning a building served by an alternate system or on-lot sewage system that contains an aerobic treatment tank shall follow the operation and maintenance recommendations of the equipment manufacturer. A copy of the manufacturer's recommendations and a copy of the service agreement shall be submitted to the Township within six months of the effective date of this article. Thereafter, service receipts shall be submitted to the Township at the intervals specified by the manufacturer's recommendations. In no case may the service or pumping intervals exceed those required for septic tanks.
The Township may require additional maintenance activity as needed, including but not necessarily limited to:
Cleaning and unclogging of piping;
Servicing and repair of mechanical equipment;
Leveling of distribution boxes, tanks and lines;
Removal of obstructing roots or trees;
The diversion of surface water away from the disposal area; or
Other means acceptable to the SEO and PADEP.
An initial inspection and subsequent periodic inspections shall be conducted when an on-lot system is pumped. Inspections shall be conducted by a registered pumper/hauler for the purpose of determining a system's functional status. The individual property owner is responsible to contact and make arrangements directly with the pumper/hauler.
An on-lot septic system report of the inspection shall be prepared by the registered pumper/hauler and furnished to the owner of each property inspected. The pumper/hauler shall also provide a copy of said report to the Township within 30 days of the inspection.
When the pumper/hauler finds possible indications of malfunction, he/she will notify Straban Township within 24 hours of the inspection.
Written reports shall be recorded on the Straban Township on-lot septic system report form. The pumper shall legibly and fully complete the form to address all requested information.
The Straban Township SEO shall inspect systems known to be, or alleged to be, malfunctioning. Should the said inspection reveal that the system is indeed malfunctioning, the Township's SEO shall take action to require the correction of the malfunction.
The Township SEO may inspect any on-lot sewage disposal system at any time after reasonable notice is given to the property owner or the occupier of the property.
The Township SEO shall have the right to enter upon land for the purpose of inspections as described above.
The SEO inspection may be due to information derived from the On-Lot Septic System Report or a formal written complaint.
The inspection may include a physical tour of the property; the taking of samples from surface water, wells or other groundwater sources; the sampling of the contents of the sewage system itself; and/or the introduction of a traceable substance into the interior plumbing of the structure served to ascertain the path and ultimate destination of wastewater generated in the structure. The owner will bear the cost of the inspection and the analysis of any samples.
Only normal domestic wastes shall be discharged into any on-lot sewage system. The following shall not be discharged into the system:
Automobile oil and other nondomestic oil;
Toxic or hazardous substances or chemicals, including but not limited to pesticides, disinfectants, acids, paints, thinners, herbicides, gasoline and other solvents;
Clean surface water or groundwater, including water from roof or cellar drains, springs, basement sump pumps and french drains.
Any person who shall install new or rehabilitated on-lot sewage systems shall provide a marker or markers at ground level locating all major subsurface components of the system. The Township SEO shall establish marker types and required locations. In addition, a riser or access hatch shall be constructed so as to enable easy access to the waste disposal tank and prevent odors from escaping and to prevent children from removing the hatch. Accessibility for visual inspection and maintenance shall be provided in the drainage fields via four-inch vertical, nonperforated PVC pipe connected directly to the drain tile at a minimum of four locations in the drainage field, and such installation shall be subject to Township SEO approval.
The Township's Sewage Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to require the repair of any malfunction of an on-lot septic system in accordance with regulations and policies established by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in the Sewage Facilities Act.
In lieu of, or in combination with, the remedies described above, the SEO may require the installation of water-conservation equipment and the institution of water-conservation practices in structures served. Water-using devices and appliances in the structure may be required to be retrofitted with water-saving appurtenances. Wastewater regeneration in the structure may also be reduced by requiring changes in water usage patterns in the structure served.
The Township, upon written notice from the SEO that an imminent health hazard exists due to failure of a property owner to maintain, repair or replace an on-lot sewage system as provided under the terms of this article, shall have the authority to perform or contract to have performed the work required by the SEO. The owner shall be charged for the work performed, and, if necessary, a lien shall be entered therefor in accordance with law.
All septage originating within the Township shall be disposed of at sites or facilities approved by the DEP.
Septage pumpers/haulers operating within the Township shall operate in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act (Act 97 of 1980, 35 P.S. §§ 6018.101 through 6018.1003).
The Township shall employ qualified individuals to carry out the provisions of this article. The Township may also contract with private, qualified persons or firms, as necessary, to carry out the provisions of this article.
All permits, records, reports, files and other written material relating to the installation, operation, maintenance and malfunction of on-lot sewage systems in the Township shall become the property of the municipality. Existing and future records shall be available for public inspection during required business hours at the Township office. All records pertaining to sewage permits, building permits, occupancy permits and all other aspects of the municipality's on-lot management program shall be made available, upon request. A fee for copying may be charged.
The Township Supervisors shall establish all administrative procedures necessary to properly carry out the provisions of this article.
The Supervisors may establish a fee schedule, and subsequently collect fees, to cover the cost to the Township of administering this program.
Any person aggrieved with the actions of the Sewage Enforcement Officer or any other authorized agent of the Township may file an appeal in accordance with Act 537. (See 35 P.S. § 750.16.)
Any person who shall violate or fail to comply with any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof by a summary proceeding action brought before a District Justice in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, plus all court costs, or imprisonment, all pursuant to the purposes and mandate of Act No. 172 of 1996, as amended. Each day's continuance of a violation of this article shall constitute a separate offense.
The discharge by the Township of its obligations as set forth in this article shall create no liability upon the Township, its officials, employees or agents.
All reports, inspections, appraisals, certifications or records required or produced by the Township, its officials, employees or agents, as required by this article, shall be for the use and benefit of the Township only and shall not be accepted, utilized or relied upon by any other person or party by way of certification or otherwise.