Township of Upper Merion, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 2-6-1956 by Ord. No. 31]
Hereafter only septic tanks connected to cesspools, seepage pits or disposal fields for human excrement may be constructed and maintained on any property within Upper Merion Township, provided that before any such work may be begun, the owner or his agent shall make written application to the Township, furnishing a plan showing the proposed location of such septic tank or other receptacle for human excrement, together with all dimensions, and upon the approval of such plan, a permit will be granted for which the applicant shall pay a fee as provided in Chapter A173, Fees.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended 2-22-1988 by Ord. No. 88-529.
A septic tank and a cesspool, seepage pit or disposal field connected thereto shall be required in all cases. They shall be so constructed as to permit the solids to remain in the septic tank and the liquids to pass into the cesspool, seepage pit or disposal field.
Each septic tank of an approved construction and of a size and shape as approved by the Township enforcement officer shall be located not less than the stated minimum distance from the following:
A. 
Any source of water supply (well, streams): 100 feet.
B. 
Dwellings: 20 feet.
C. 
Lot lines: 15 feet.
D. 
Cesspool or seepage pit: 10 feet.
A. 
Each cesspool or seepage pit for human excrement must be located so as to be at least the distance stated from the following:
(1) 
Water supply (wells, streams): 100 feet.
(2) 
Property lines: 15 feet.
(3) 
Dwellings: 20 feet.
B. 
Such cesspools and seepage pits shall be constructed of interlocking blocks and shall be at least 10 feet (inside finish) in depth below invert elevation and six feet (inside finish) in diameter, except upon written special permit for variations from these specifications, granted by the Supervisors. Larger dimensions may be required, depending upon soil conditions or topography, so that adequate drainage may be obtained. Where rock is encountered, shattering of the rock by blasting must be done so as to obtain adequate drainage.
C. 
Where the above conditions have not been complied with and, owing to local conditions, cesspools become a nuisance and a menace to public health, upon written notice from the Township said nuisance must be abated within a period of 10 days from the date of such notice.
D. 
When a cesspool has been completed or cleaned, it shall not be covered or recovered until the Township has been notified and has been granted its approval.
E. 
Disposal fields in lieu of cesspools or seepage pits may be installed at the discretion of the Building Official and must comply with the Federal Housing Authority's minimum requirements.
A. 
All cesspools or seepage pits for human excrement shall be walled with brick, stone, block or similar materials at least four inches thick, laid in cement mortar above the inlet and laid dry with two- to four-inch open vertical points below the inlet. A reinforced concrete top at least four inches thick, bearing at least six inches of soil outside of the pit and with a watertight concrete manhole and cover, shall be provided. The top of said cesspool shall be at least 12 to 18 inches below the ground surface.
B. 
Percolation tests are to be made in accordance with Federal Housing Authority's Minimum Requirements for Individual Water Supply and Sewage Disposal Systems, dated June 1, 1952. Absorption area per seepage pit shall be governed by the aforesaid percolation test in accordance with Table III. Absorption area per disposal field shall be governed by the aforesaid percolation test in accordance with Table II.
TABLE I
Septic Tanks
Number of Bedrooms
Minimum Capacity
(gallons)
4 or less
750
5
900
6
1,100
7
1,300
8
1,500
12
2,000
NOTE: Increase minimum liquid capacity by 50% when garbage disposal added.
TABLE II
Disposal Fields
Average Time Required for Water to Fall 1 Inch
(minutes)
Individual Dwellings Minimum Trench Bottom per Bedroom
(square feet)
Other Than Individual Dwellings Minimum Bottom Area per Gallon per Day
(square feet)
5 or less
90
0.60
5 to 8
110
0.70
8 to 12
130
0.90
12 to 15
150
1.00
15 to 20
180
1.20
20 to 30
240
1.60
30 to 40
290
2.00
Over 40
Not acceptable
Not acceptable
NOTE: Increase tile field by 33% when automatic washer is installed. Percolation tests should not be made in frozen ground.
TABLE III
Seepage Pits
Percolation Test
(minutes per inch)
Dwellings Effective Absorp- tion Pit Wall Area Required per Bedroom
(square feet)
Other Than Dwellings Effective Absorp- tion Pit Wall Area Required per Gallon per Day
(square feet)
5 or less
60
0.40
5 to 8
70
0.50
8 to 12
80
0.55
12 to 15
90
0.60
15 to 20
110
0.75
20 to 30
150
1.00
30 to 40
200
1.25
Over 40
Not acceptable
Not acceptable
The construction of the following are hereafter prohibited:
A. 
Outside privy vaults.
B. 
Septic tank without a cesspool or seepage pit connected thereto.
Basement floor, footing or roof drainage shall not enter any part of the sewage disposal system. Laundry waste and basement floor drainage must be discharged into separate seepage pits located and constructed not less than the stated minimum distances as provided in § 133-3 for cesspools or seepage pits.
A. 
Anyone engaged in the business of the cleaning of septic tanks, privies and/or cesspools within the Township shall be required to furnish an annual bond with corporate surety in the amount of $500, payable to the Township, conditioned for compliance with this article and all rules and regulations of the Township.
B. 
Anyone engaged in the business of septic tank and cesspool construction or installation within the Township shall be required to furnish a bond with corporate surety in the amount of $2,500 for each contract to be performed, payable to the Township, conditioned on compliance with this article and all rules and regulations of the Township.
C. 
An annual registration fee as provided for in Chapter A173, Fees, will be charged those persons engaged in the business of cesspool cleaning for one calendar year or fractional part thereof. Thereafter, annually, every holder of a cesspool and septic tank cleaner's registration shall surrender his certificate of registration for renewal between the first and 31st days of December and, upon payment of a fee as provided for in Chapter A173, Fees, receive a registration certificate for the next calendar year.[1]
[1]
Editor's Notes: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Chapter 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
D. 
Anyone engaged in the business of constructing or installing septic tanks and cesspools within the Township must be duly registered with Upper Merion Township. Upon payment of a fee as provided in Chapter A173, Fees, a certificate of registration will be issued, to be in effect for the remainder of the calendar year or a fractional part thereof. Thereafter, the aforesaid person or persons shall, between the first and 31st days of December, surrender his or their certificate of registration for the current year and pay a renewal fee as provided for in Chapter A173, Fees, and shall thereupon receive a certificate of registration for the next calendar year.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Chapter 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
The enforcement officer of the terms of this article shall be the Building Official, who shall be authorized to employ, with the consent of the Supervisors, such individual or individuals as may be necessary to inspect and enforce the provisions of this article.
The interpretation of the minimum requirements of this article in all cases not specifically set forth herein shall be determined by the Board of Supervisors.
[Amended 12-31-1991 by Ord. No. 91-593]
Any person, copartnership or corporation who or which shall violate any of the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, forfeit and pay to the Township a fine as set forth in Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III, General Penalty Provisions, to be collected by summary proceedings brought in the name of the Township. Upon failure to pay the fine and costs imposed, the defendant may be sentenced and committed to the county jail for a period not exceeding 30 days. Whenever such person, copartnership or corporation shall have been notified by the enforcement officer of the Township or by service of summons or other processes that a violation has been committed, each day that said violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense, punishable by a like fine or penalty.