[Adopted 3-9-1999 by Ord. No. 99-8; amended in its entirety 12-18-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-14]
This Article shall be titled and known as the "Millcreek Township Sewer Rental Ordinance."
Words and terms used in this Article and not given specific definition shall be defined as set forth in applicable statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or ordinances of Millcreek Township, if any, and shall otherwise be given their ordinary and common meaning.
For purposes of this Article, the following words and terms shall be defined as set forth below:
- A third-party in contract with the Township who is authorized to bill and collect the Millcreek Township sewer rentals, rates and charges.
- BOD (BIOCHEMICAL OXYGEN DEMAND)
- The quantity of oxygen utilized in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter under standard laboratory procedure in five days at 20° C. expressed in milligrams per liter.
- CITY OF ERIE SEWER SYSTEM
- Generally, the collection, transportation and wastewater treatment system and facilities for sanitary sewage owned and maintained by the City of Erie which receives sewage from the Township.
- CONSULTING ENGINEER
- The registered Pennsylvania professional engineer retained by Millcreek Township for any specific or general purpose, including any member of his or her staff.
- EQUIVALENT DOMESTIC UNIT (EDU)
- The base unit of usage of the sanitary sewer system for purposes of measuring use and assessing rentals, rates and charges; shall be deemed to be 70,000 gallons of water consumption or of normal domestic waste discharged to the Township sewer system annually or any portion thereof.
- EXTRAORDINARY WASTES
- All other wastes which do not qualify as ordinary waste.
- (1) Any nongovernmental user of the Township sewer system identified in the Standard Industrial Classification Manual, Office of Management and Budget, as amended and supplemented, under the following divisions:
- (2) A user in the divisions listed is excluded if it discharges primarily aggregated domestic wastes or wastes from sanitary conveniences.
- INDUSTRIAL WASTE
- Shall be deemed to include any liquid, gaseous, radioactive, solid or other substance, not ordinary waste or sewage, but including discharges from pretreatment facilities and/or those resulting from any manufacturer or industry or from any establishment, including those recovering or processing natural resources. Shall include all such substances, whether or not generally characterized as waste.
- OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
- The associated costs of utilities and energy, manpower, materials, transportation, chemicals and services required to collect, pump and transport sewage, keep equipment and facilities functioning satisfactorily and economically, and administer the system, and shall include sums paid to defray costs of the City of Erie's wastewater treatment plant and facilities and those of improvements to the Township system.
- ORDINARY WASTES
- Wastes composed of less than 350 milligrams per liter of suspended solids and/or 300 milligrams per liter BOD, and shall not contain any additional characteristics or pollutants which, in the opinion of the Township, cause the subject sewage to be unacceptable as "ordinary waste."
- Any person, firm, corporation, individual, partnership, company, association, society or group owning real property which is connected to or discharges sewage into the Township sewer system.
- RENTAL, RATES AND CHARGES
- Sums assessed, imposed and to be collected from each lot, parcel, building or portion thereof which is connected with the Township sewer system or which discharges sanitary sewage, industrial wastes, water or other liquids, directly or indirectly, into the Township sewer system for the use of and the service rendered by the sewer system, including operation, maintenance, inspection, repair, replacement and improvement of such system, administrative costs incident to the operation and maintenance of said system, other expenses, such as depreciation and amortization of any indebtedness incurred or nondebt revenue bonds issued, and including a 10% margin of safety, and receipt, collection, treatment and disposal of sewage by the City of Erie Sewer System pursuant to agreements with it.
- The associated costs of obtaining and installing equipment, accessories or appurtenances which are necessary during the service life of the Township sewer system so as to maintain the capacity and performance for which said system was designed and constructed; shall include costs associated with improvements to the sewer system.
- Liquid-carried waste products from whatever source or origin, with such amounts of groundwater or infiltration which may be present.
- A pipe or other conduit carrying sewage, industrial waste or other waste liquids.
- SEWER SYSTEM
- The system of pipes, conduits, lift stations, force mains and all devices, appliances and facilities appurtenant thereto used for collecting, conducting, pumping and/or treating sewage; also referred to as the "sanitary sewer system."
- SIGNIFICANT INDUSTRIAL USER
- Any industrial user discharging sewage to the Township system which flow constitutes greater than 10% of the design flow or constitutes a pollutant load in excess of 10% of the design pollutant load.
- STANDARD LABORATORY PROCEDURE
- The procedure described in the latest edition of Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater.
- SUSPENDED SOLIDS
- Solids that either float on the surface or are in suspension in water, sewage or other liquids and which are removable by laboratory filtering in accordance with standard laboratory procedure and expressed in milligrams per liter.
- The Township of Millcreek, Erie County, Pennsylvania.
- TOWNSHIP ENGINEER
- The engineer employed by Millcreek Township or any authorized member of his or her staff.
- TOWNSHIP SEWER SYSTEM
- The public sewers and sewage collection and transportation system as it exists at the time of enactment of this Article, including all additions and/or extensions thereof which in the future may be made to the sewers and/or facilities.
- Any person, firm, corporation, individual, partnership, company, association, society or group discharging sewage into the Township sewer system.
For the use of and the services rendered by said sewer system, including its operation, maintenance, inspection, repair, replacement and improvement of said system, administrative costs incident to operation and maintenance of the system, sums paid and due to the City of Erie Sewer System for collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of sewage and improvements to its system and diverse other expenses, such as depreciation and amortization of any indebtedness incurred or non-debt revenue bonds issued, and including a 10% margin of safety, quarter-annual rates and charges are hereby imposed upon each and every lot, parcel of land, building or portion thereof that is connected with the Township sanitary sewer system or discharges sanitary sewage, industrial wastes, water or other liquids, either directly or indirectly, into the sewer system and thence into the sewers and sewage treatment facilities of the City of Erie Sewer System, and upon the owner(s) of such lots, parcels of land or buildings. Such rental, rates and charges shall be payable to the Township by and collected from the owners of such lots, parcels of land or buildings as hereinafter provided, and shall be determined as set forth below.
Rental for discharge of normal domestic waste. Sewer rental, rates and charges for users discharging normal domestic waste shall be based upon equivalent domestic units (EDU) of water usage, which for the purpose of establishing such rental, rates and charges shall be deemed to be 70,000 gallons of water consumption annually. Each EDU of water usage shall constitute one equivalent domestic unit (EDU) of sewer usage, and shall be charged for one EDU of sewer usage. Fractional amounts shall be charged and assessed at the next greater full number of equivalent domestic units.
Single-family residential dwellings and all other residential units such as apartments, mobile homes, condominium units, independent or assisted-living facilities, duplexes and other multiunit residential dwellings shall be charged for one equivalent domestic unit (EDU) of sewer use for each individual residential unit.
All nonresidential uses whose public water consumption is metered shall be charged for the number of equivalent domestic units of usage, obtained by dividing the total annual gallons of water consumption by 70,000 gallons. The basis for determining the number of equivalent domestic units of water used shall be the report of such water usage during the most recent quarter or period as received by the Department prior to the first day of the month preceding the assessment date from any public or private utility or water authority which furnishes water to such lot, parcel, building or portion thereof. Where a lot, parcel or building is divided into more than one use or user connected to or discharging sewage into the sewer system, each unit or user so connected to or discharging sewage into the sewer system shall constitute a separate user.
Where there is no public water service or where there is no available or acceptable water consumption record for a nonresidential use, or where, in the opinion of the Township, it is impossible or impracticable to calculate and assess sewer rental, rates or charges on a water consumption basis, the Township Engineer shall determine what constitutes a reasonable, fair and proportionate charge by means of the following:
Hotels and motels shall be charged for one equivalent domestic unit of sewer usage for each two hotel or motel rooms.
Schools shall be charged for 2 1/2 equivalent domestic units of sewer usage for each school classroom.
Hospitals and nursing homes (not including independent or assisted-living facilities) shall be charged at a rate of 250 gallons per day for each hospital or nursing home bed.
Commercial and industrial establishments shall be charged at a rate of 40 gallons per workday shift per employee multiplied by the number of shifts per day and averaged over a calendar year.
Rental for discharge of extraordinary waste. Sewer rental, rates and charges for users generating extraordinary waste shall be based upon equivalent domestic units (EDU) of normal domestic waste. One EDU of sewer use shall be deemed to equal either 70,000 gallons of water consumption per year or 70,000 gallons of normal domestic waste per year discharged into the Township sewer system. The discharge of, and the rental, rates and charges assessed and imposed for extraordinary waste shall be in accordance with Article V, Industrial Waste, of this chapter, as thereafter amended.
Minimum rental assessment. No lot, parcel, building, unit or user shall be charged for less than one equivalent domestic unit (EDU) of sewer usage.
Assessment following issuance of permit to connect.
When a permit to connect to the sanitary sewer system has been issued, sewer rental, rates and charges shall be assessed and imposed upon a lot, parcel, building or portion thereof for use of or discharge of sewage into the sewer system effective as of the first day of the calendar quarter next following:
For new construction: 120 days after the date on which the initial inspection of sanitary sewer inspections is made upon timely request therefor;
For an existing building or structure: the date on which a permit to connect to the sewer system has been issued;
The date on which a water meter is installed;
One hundred twenty days after the date on which a permit to connect to the water system is made; or
Sixty days after the date of an official notice to connect to the sewer system is issued, whichever of the foregoing first occurs.
In the event a property should connect to the sewer system without first applying for and obtaining a permit to connect to the sewer system, sewer rental, rates and charges shall be assessed and imposed from the date of such connection as subsequently determined by the Township or as of the first day of the calendar quarter next following the 120th day after issuance of any building permit found by the Township to be related to such connection, whichever the Township should determine to have first occurred.
Assessment following directive to connect. Sewer rental, rates and charges shall be assessed and imposed upon a lot, parcel, building or portion thereof for use of or discharge of sewage into the sewer system effective the first day of the calendar quarter next following the date of a directive by the Township that an owner or occupant of property connect to the sewer system.
No credits for vacancies less than six months. As the principal costs of the sewer system are fixed, no credit shall be allowed for vacancy of any lot, parcel, building or portion thereof for less than six consecutive months, and no credit shall be allowed unless evidence that water service to such lot, parcel, building or portion thereof was shut off during the entire period of the vacancy is provided and the bill is kept current. No credits are available when water service has been terminated due to nonpayment.
Uniform application of rental, rates and charges. Rental, rates and charges shall be assessed, imposed, liened and collected uniformly as to all owners, lots, parcels, buildings, units and users.
Rental, rates and charges imposed and assessed. The rental, rates and charges for the services rendered by the Township sewer system, effective January 1, 2012, and thereafter, shall be computed on the basis of $84 per equivalent domestic unit (EDU) per calendar quarter per the following schedule:
Township subject to rental, rates and charges. For the services rendered to it by its own use of and discharge into the sewer system, Millcreek Township shall be subject to the same rental, rates and charges as above provided.
Review of rental rates and charges. The Township's Board of Supervisors shall review the rates and charges established in this Article at least annually to determine if each recipient of benefits of the sewer system within the Township is paying his, her or its proportionate share of the costs of operation and maintenance, including but not limited to repair, replacement, improvement and administration of the system and of costs paid to the City of Erie Sewer System for its receipt, transportation and treatment of sewage. If in the course of this annual review it is determined that a new rate structure is required in order to ensure that the sewer system is properly funded and that each recipient of benefit of the sewer system pays his, her or its proportionate share of the costs of operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, improvement, administration and other services, the Board of Supervisors shall have authority to develop and enact such a new rate structure. The Township shall maintain records of all billing calculations, actual billings and receipts, and such other information as it deems appropriate and/or which is required to document compliance with federal and state regulations.
Alternative calculation authorized. In the event any owner or user discharging sewage into the sewer system can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Township that a portion of the water used does not and cannot enter the sewer system, the Township may determine by a reasonable and accurate method the amount of water used or the percentage of water entering the sewer system which should be chargeable to such owner or user. Such amount or percentage, when so determined by the Township, shall constitute the basis of sewer rental, rates and charges, provided that the owner may install additional meters at the expense of the owner or other interested party in such manner as is necessary to determine the quantity of water actually entering the sewer system, in which event the quantity of water used to determine the sewer rental, rate or charge shall be the quantity of water entering the sewer system as so determined.
"User" and "owner" distinguished. References in this Article to "use," "user," "unit" or portion of a lot, parcel or building with respect to the calculation and assessment of sewer rental, rates and charges shall not be construed to modify or alter the fact that sewer rental, rates and charges shall be assessed and imposed upon the lot, parcel or building served by the sewer system pursuant to 53 P.S. § 7106 et seq., as may in the future be amended, and the owner of each lot, parcel, building or portion thereof against which sewer rental, rates and charges are imposed and assessed under this Article shall be and remain liable for payment of the same, whether or not such owner occupies the property or directly uses the sewer system. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prohibit or limit an owner's ability to collect by lease or contract sums due by a tenant or other occupier of the owner's property, but such lease or contract shall not bind the Township or limit in any way the Township's authority to impose, assess, lien and collect sewer rental, rates and charges.
The rental, rates and charges fixed and established by this Article shall be effective as to all lots, parcels, buildings or portions thereof served by the Township sewer system existing as of the effective date of this Article, and shall be effective to all other lots, parcels, buildings or portions thereof so served subsequent to the effective date of this Article.
Billing and collection by Township or its agent. Rental, rates and charges imposed by this Article shall be assessed and billed by the Township or its agent effective as of the first day of each calendar quarter beginning in January or on such other quarterly basis as the Board of Supervisors or its designee shall authorize. A bill shall be prepared and mailed by the Township or its agent within the quarter for that calendar quarter billing period to the owner of each premises served by the Township sewer system. Such assessments shall be payable at their face amount during the 30 days next following the date on which said assessment bill was mailed.
Late payment penalty. Effective on the first day of the calendar month next following an assessment billing, a penalty of 5% of the rental, rates or charges assessed for that calendar quarter and not paid within the calendar month of the assessment shall be added for nonpayment within the time allowed.
Interest on unpaid rental, rates and charges. Interest at the rate of 10% per year from the first day of the calendar month next following that month in which sewer rental, rates and charges were assessed and billed shall accrue and be added to all original amounts of sewer rental, rates and charges remaining unpaid at the end of the calendar month in which the same were first imposed and assessed, and shall continue to accrue until the full amount of such rental, rates and charges is paid in full.
"Bad check" fees. The Township shall assess and impose such fee as is then authorized by applicable ordinances and resolutions for any check(s) or drafts(s) tendered to it which are returned without payment for nonsufficient funds or any other reason, such fees to be added to the sewer rental account as another charge. The "bad check fee" imposed shall be in the sum of $30 per returned item, and this fee may in the future be modified by ordinance enacted or resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
Collection fees. The Township shall have the right to charge a fee equal to 25% of the unpaid balance of any sewer rental bill or account if said bill or account is referred by the Township to a collection agency retained by Township for collection of delinquent accounts.
Rental, rates and charges constitute lien on property served. In accordance with the Municipal Claims Act, 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq., all rental, rates, charges, penalties, interest, collection fees, lien filing and satisfaction fees and other charges imposed for failure to pay promptly shall constitute a lien upon and against the subject property and its owner from the date of their imposition and assessment.
Liens to be filed in court. Liens for unpaid sewer rental, rates and charges shall be filed by the Township in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County as required by the Municipal Claims Act to preserve the Township's statutory lien therefor within the time limit provided by law. The Township or its agent shall provide the Township Solicitor with such information as is necessary to assure filing of liens in court to preserve existing statutory liens for unpaid rental, rates and other charges. The Board of Supervisors shall have authority to cause liens to be filed in the court within that time specified by statute if the Board deems such filing necessary for protection of the Township's interests or for collection of sums due.
Collection fees: scire facias proceedings. In the event the Township should determine under its resolutions and policies then in effect that a delinquent sewer rental account should be referred to the Township Solicitor or other attorney retained by Township for collection in scire facias sur municipal lien proceedings pursuant to the Municipal Claims Act, 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq., as may in the future be amended, then all attorney's fees and costs incurred by the Township in such proceeding shall be imposed upon the lot, parcel, building and owner as a cost of collection, in accordance with the Municipal Claims Act and applicable ordinances and resolutions of the Township.
Assessments to be issued to owners. Billings for sewer rental, rates and other charges shall be mailed to the owner(s) of the properties served by the sewer system. Owners of properties served by the sewer system which are occupied by tenants or other persons or entities aside from the owner shall have the right to examine collection records of the Township to determine whether such rental, rates and other charges have been paid by such tenants or occupiers, provided that such examination shall be at the offices of the Township or its agent during its regular business hours.
With respect to properties for which sewer rental is assessed at the rate of one EDU of consumption per unit upon the property, the Township or its agent shall in its billing to the property owner(s) submit a bill stating the total sewer rental due for the property for the specified number of equivalent domestic units of consumption.
With respect to multiple-unit commercial and other properties for which sewer rental is assessed on the basis of actual water consumption (or other alternative calculation authorized by this Article) for which the Department has appropriate records and consumption reports, the Township or its agent shall in its billing to the property owner(s) submit a bill stating the total sewer rental, rates and charges due for the property and a detailed listing, by separate unit to the extent possible, of the calculated consumption or usage and the sewer rental, rates and charges assessed as to each unit within the property.
Agreements for billing of occupiers of multiunit commercial premises. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection I above, the Board of Supervisors, in appropriate circumstances and upon written request of the owner, is authorized to enter into written agreements with owners of multiple unit commercial properties which are, in whole or in part, leased to third parties, which provide for direct billing by the Township of sewer rental, rates and charges to tenants of the owner. Any such agreements shall be entered into only where the Board of Supervisors deems such an agreement to be appropriate in view of the number of leased units within the property and the consideration to be granted by the owner under the agreement. All such agreements shall, at a minimum, include the following:
A clear specification and acknowledgment by the owner that sewer rental assessments and all penalties, interest and other charges imposed for nonpayment thereof shall constitute a statutory lien upon the benefitted property and its owner(s) from the time of their assessment, having priority over all other liens excepting only those for real estate taxes;
An express acknowledgment by the owner(s) that the billing methods specified in the agreement result from the owner's request;
An express acknowledgment by the owner that the billing method specified in the agreement constitutes proper receipt by owner(s) of all assessments and other impositions, and a waiver by owner of any and all claims of deficient notice;
Continuing and prompt notice by the owner to the Township or its agent of the identity, proprietor or manager and mailing address for billing purposes of each leased unit, this including notice of the commencement and termination dates of tenancies for all leased units or portions of the premises during the term of said agreement;
Assumption of liability by the owner(s) for full and timely payment of all sewer rental, rates and charges assessed and imposed during times in which all or any portion of the premises are not occupied or leased by third parties;
Appropriate assistance by the owner(s) to the Township or its agent in effecting collection of delinquent sewer rental, rates and charges with a minimum of administrative inconvenience and cost to the Department, this including owner's assistance as may be necessary to allow or effectuate prompt termination of public water service to the leased premises for failure to pay sewer rental, rates and charges;
Appropriate provision for collecting sums due which pertain to premises for which frequent and/or repeated delinquencies arise;
Assumption of responsibility by the owner(s) to pay in full to the Township not later than 240 days after the date of a sewer rental, rate or charge assessment not paid by the owner's lessee(s) or occupant(s) all sums then due as sewer rental, penalties, interest and other charges for such unit or premises; and
Express provision that any breach of such agreement by the owner(s) shall result in the immediate termination of said agreement, with billings for sewer rental, rate and charge assessments thereafter being issued directly to the owner(s) for payment, with appropriate provision to be made for collection of all sums due as of such breach.
Billing to third parties does not relieve owner of liability. In no event shall the Township's agreement at the request of the owner(s) of a property served by the sewer system or otherwise to issue billings for assessment of sewer rental, rates and charges to the lessee or occupier of owner(s) relieve or excuse owner(s) in any respect from liability to pay such rental, rates and other charges should the lessee or occupier fail for any reason to do so. Sewer rental, rates and other charges assessed and imposed pursuant to this Article shall constitute a lien against the property benefitted by the sewer system regardless of the manner in which such assessments are billed.
Collection policies and procedures authorized. The Board of Supervisors may by resolution adopt such policies and procedures as it deems appropriate to ensure collection of sewer rental, rates and charges assessed and imposed pursuant to this Article. Without limitation, collection procedures may include referral of delinquent accounts to a collection agency; filing of liens; scire facias sur municipal lien proceedings to collect filed liens; proceedings to terminate public water service to premises for nonpayment of sewer rental in accordance with 53 P.S. § 3102.502, as may in the future be amended; and any and all other measures or combination thereof which the Board of Supervisors may deem appropriate.
All costs of such collection procedures, including but not limited to fees for filing, perpetuation and satisfaction of liens, collection fees, attorney's fees, court costs, litigation expense, charges for service of documents, shall, upon being incurred by the Township, be imposed as a charge for nonpayment and added to the balance due on said premises' account.
No lien shall be satisfied, nor shall any collection proceeding be discontinued until all amounts due on an account, including rental, rates, penalties, interest, collection fees, costs incurred in termination and restoration of public water service, attorney's fees, court costs and other charges are first paid in full to the Township.
In the event public water service to a premises should be terminated for nonpayment of sewer rental, rates or other charges, the Township shall be authorized to require, as a condition of resumption of water service, that the property's owner deposit with the Township in escrow a sum at least sufficient to satisfy costs charged by the provider of water service with respect to such termination and restoration of service as may be billed to the Township, any excess thereof remaining after payment of actual charges to be refunded to the payer after such actual charges have been determined.
Application of payments received on accounts. When a payment is tendered upon a sewer rental account whose balance then due includes rental or rates, penalties, interest, lien costs, collection fees or other charges, such payment shall be applied first to payment of penalties, costs and other charges, then to interest and then to rental or rates.
The Board of Supervisors is authorized to prohibit the dumping of wastes into the Township's sewer system or facilities which, in the Board of Supervisors' discretion, are deemed harmful to the operation of the sewer system and facilities.
Each and every assessment or imposition of rental, rates or other charges authorized by this Article is hereby made a lien upon the corresponding lot, parcel, land or premises as provided by 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq., as amended, and shall be collected with interest, penalties and other charges for nonpayment as a municipal claim.
The funds received from the collection of the rental, rates and other charges authorized by this Article shall be deposited into the Township's Sewer Revenue Fund, a fund and account dedicated to the operation, administration, maintenance, repair and improvement of the sewer system. Withdrawals shall be made from this fund only upon appropriation by the Board of Supervisors for payment of expenses associated with the sewer system, these including but not limited to:
Payments to the City of Erie for sums due to it under agreements or otherwise for its receipt, transportation, treatment and disposal of sewage and/or for enhancement of its system;
Payment of costs of operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, improvement and administration of the sewer system; and
Reimbursement payments required by federal and/or state industrial cost recovery or other regulations.