[Adopted 6-12-2001 by Ord. No. 01-04]
The purpose of this article is to establish standards, regulations and procedures for the design, construction, installation, use, maintenance and removal of new and existing holding tanks designed to receive, retain and remove sewage whether from residential, industrial, or commercial uses, and it is hereby declared that the enactment of this article is necessary for the protection, benefit and preservation of the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this Township.
Unless the context specifically and clearly indicates otherwise, the meaning of terms used in this article shall be as follows:
- ACT 537
- The Act of January 24, 1966, P.L. 1535, as amended, 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., known as the "Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act."
- The Upper Hanover Township Authority of Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, charged with regulating sewer and water usage within Upper Hanover Township.
- The Board of Supervisors of Upper Hanover Township.
- The office, by and through its representatives, servants, agents and employees, of the Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- A person or agency appointed by any governmental, commonwealth or municipal body or agency to perform inspections and issue permits in connection with holding tanks.
- HEALTH DEPARTMENT
- The office of the Montgomery County Health Department or such other agency, board or commission as shall be delegated to administer the issuance of permits and promulgate resolutions governing on-site sewage systems and/or on-site sewage treatment systems in the various municipalities of Montgomery County, as authorized under the amendments of Act 537.
- HOLDING TANK
- A watertight receptacle which receives and retains sewage and is designed and constructed to facilitate ultimate disposal of the sewage at another site. Holding tanks include, but are not limited to, the following:
- HOLDING TANK CLEANER
- A municipal entity or person, including a holding tank owner, who removes the contents of a holding tank for purposes of disposing of the sewage at another site.
- IMPROVED PROPERTY
- Any property within the Township upon which there is erected a building, structure or other improvement intended for continuous or periodic habitation and/or the occupancy or use of said site by human beings or animals and from which structure, building or site sewage shall or may be discharged.
- A part of a subdivision or a tract, lot or parcel of real estate used for building purposes, whether immediate or future, or used and occupied for other than human activity.
- The Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
- Any person vested with ownership, legal or equitable, sole or partial, of any improved property situate in the Township.
- Any natural person, partnership, association or corporation. Whenever used in any clause prescribing and imposing a penalty or imposing a fine or imprisonment, or both, the term "person" shall include the members of an association and the officers of a corporation.
- 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 being harmful or inimical to the 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 terms and provisions of the Act of June 22, 1937, P.L. 1987, No. 394, 35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq., known as the "Clean Streams Law," as hereafter amended, supplemented, modified or reenacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- The Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Other definitions. All other words and terms, when used in this article, shall have the meaning set forth in Act 537, the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, and Title 25, Chapter 73, Standards for Sewage Disposal Facilities, of the DEP, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
Any person who is the owner of any lot or improved property shall be subject to the requirements of this article and shall be responsible for obtaining all required permits from the Township, DEP, Health Department and any other agencies which issue and/or require permits for on-site sewage facilities.
A permit issued by the Health Department and/or DEP shall be required for the construction, installation, use and maintenance of a holding tank on any lot or improved property situated within Upper Hanover Township, and said holding tank shall be permitted for industrial use, commercial use and residential use if necessary to abate a public nuisance, but under all circumstances the holding tank must be utilized in compliance with the DEP regulations.
No holding tank shall be installed or used for the disposal of sewage until an application for such tank shall be obtained from the Township. Property owners shall submit to the Township copies of permits granted by DEP and/or the Health Department, as well as plans showing size, shape, location, type of materials used in the fabrication of the holding tank and details of its construction sufficient to fully disclose the nature, location and operational capacities of the same, prior to the construction or installation of said holding tank. At the time of such application and every year thereafter, the property owner shall also submit a copy of the contract between the property owner and the holding tank cleaner, providing for the pumping of such holding tank on a regular basis, said contract having a term of not less than one year; a letter from an approved sewage disposal site agreeing to receive said sewage from the property; and an agreement, executed by the property owner, to be recorded and to run with the land, binding the successors in title to observe the duties, liabilities and obligations as are therein set forth pursuant to this article.
The Township is hereby empowered to adopt, by resolution, from time to time, such rules, regulations and standards governing the design, construction, installation, use, operation, maintenance and removal of holding tanks and the removal and disposal of sewage from the same as may be determined necessary and appropriate to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the inhabitants of the Township; the terms of which shall be considered a part of this article, and violation of the same shall be enforceable as if said terms were incorporated herein. In addition, the holding tank shall have, as a minimum, the following construction standards:
Tank capacity. The minimum capacity allowed shall be equal to either the daily flow times the longest interval, in days, between collection plus one day of additional capacity or three days' capacity, whichever is greater; provided, however, the minimum tank capacity shall be at least 1,000 gallons for each equivalent dwelling unit (EDU).
Level indicator. An indicator to show the sewage depth will be required. Also, a warning device using a light and sound alarm shall be installed within the proposed property to be activated when the tank is 75% full.
Withdraw facilities. The tank shall be designed so that it can be completely pumped out.
Venting. The tank shall be designed with a vent to the atmosphere. If odor problems occur, it will be the property owner's responsibility to install the necessary filter system within 30 days after written notice from the Township.
All holding tanks shall be located so that the holding tank cleaner pumping the same will have easy access to withdraw facilities during all seasons of the year. Further, no truck used in removal of sewage and disposal of the same shall exceed the capacity of 3,000 gallons, and no removal of sewage from a holding tank shall occur before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m., prevailing time, except in the case of emergency.
All access covers shall be airtight. Grade-level access covers shall be secured by bolts or locking mechanisms or have sufficient weight to prevent unauthorized access.
No person shall install, construct, alter, replace, rebuild or remove a holding tank or occupy any building or structure for which a holding tank is to be installed without first obtaining permits as may be required by the DEP and the Department of Health and approval from the Township.
No construction, installation or initial use of a holding tank shall be permitted until and unless the property owner shall first notify the Township of the intention to proceed with the same, and no holding tank shall be covered from view until notice of the same is given to the Township and the Township, by and through its representatives, agents, servants and employees, has had an opportunity to inspect the same.
No building, occupancy or zoning permit shall be issued by the Township or its Code Enforcement Officer for any new structure, use or occupancy of the site requiring the installation of a holding tank until the property owner has obtained the appropriate and necessary permits from the DEP and/or Health Department and approval from the Township.
No building, occupancy or zoning permit shall be issued and no work shall begin on any alteration or conversion of any existing structure if said alteration or conversion will result in the increase or potential increase in sewage flows from the structure/building, unless and until the property owner has obtained approval from the Township for alteration or replacement of the existing holding tank or received written notification that such approval will not be required. The Township, by and through its agents, servants and employees, shall determine whether such alteration or conversion will result in increased sewage flows.
Any landowner who abandons or discontinues the use of a holding tank shall either remove the empty holding tank and fill the hole with clean compacted earth or, in the alternative, shall completely crush the empty tank and fill the hole with clean compacted earth. This action shall take place within 20 days from the end of the use of the holding tank or within 20 days from a directive from the Township requiring the same. The Township shall be given prior notice of any removal required under this section.
Any holding tank may be inspected by the Township's authorized agent or enforcement officer, such as may be designated by the Board, at any reasonable time as of the effective date of this article and shall be inspected by the Township, by and through its agent or enforcement officer, at least one time within the first year after such tank is installed and thereafter on at least an annual basis or such additional inspections as are determined necessary to determine that the use, maintenance and operation of the holding tank will not result in leakage, seepage or escape of any material from the holding tank and as may be necessary to protect, benefit and preserve the health, safety and general welfare of the inhabitants of the Township.
The inspection may include a physical tour of the property, the taking of samples from surface water, wells, other groundwater sources, the sampling of the contents of the holding tank 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 Township's authorized agent or enforcement officer shall have the right to enter upon any premises or land for the purposes of inspection described above.
A written report shall be furnished to the property owner of each property inspected, and a copy of said report shall be maintained in the Township's records.
A schedule of routine inspections may be established by the Township if necessary to assure the proper function of the holding tank.
The Township, by its authorized agent or enforcement officer, shall inspect holding tanks known to be or alleged to be malfunctioning. Should said inspection reveal that the holding tank is indeed malfunctioning, the Township, its authorized agent or enforcement officer, shall request action by the Health Department to require the correction of the malfunction. The property owner shall comply with any and all regulations, requirements, rules, orders or directives of the Health Department and/or the DEP relative to the use and operation of said holding tank and specifically regarding any malfunctions and, further, shall be required to undertake such additional steps to maintain, repair, rehabilitate or replace said holding tank as may be hereinafter set forth.
Any person owning a property served by a holding tank shall have the holding tank pumped by a qualified holding tank cleaner as may be necessary to ensure the proper operation of said tank.
Any person owning a building/structure serviced by a holding tank shall submit to the Township service receipts from the holding tank cleaner evidencing the removal of such material and shall further provide the Township with documentation of maintenance activity, including, but not limited to, cleaning and unclogging of piping; servicing and the repair of tanks and lines; removal of obstructing roots or trees; and the diversion of surface water away from the disposal area.
No person shall operate and maintain a holding tank in such a manner that it malfunctions. All liquid wastes, including kitchen and laundry waste, shall be discharged into the holding tank. No holding tank shall be operated or maintained in such a way to allow the discharge of sewage to the surface of the ground or into the waters of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Within seven days of notification by the Health Department, DEP or Township that a malfunction has been identified, the property owner shall have the holding tank pumped and shall make application for a permit to repair or replace the malfunctioning systems. Within 30 days of initial notification of the malfunction, the property owner, by and through its agents, servants and employees, shall commence the construction, repair, rehabilitation or replacement of said holding tank. Within 90 days of the original notification, the construction, repair, rehabilitation or replacement shall be completed unless seasonal or unique conditions mandate a longer period, in which case the property owner shall make application to the Township for an extended completion date.
In the event that remediation, rehabilitation or repair of the holding tank is ineffective in eliminating the malfunction, the same shall be replaced, and in the absence of replacement and continued malfunction of the holding tank, the property owner shall terminate the use and occupancy of the building/structure so serviced or the use and occupancy of the subject property until such system is replaced or an approved alternative system is installed and activated.
Any property owner shall, concurrent with said application for approval of a holding tank, submit to the Township a fully executed operation and maintenance agreement in such form as may be adopted by the Township and shall tender to the Township such financial security, in the nature of an irrevocable letter of credit and/or third-party cash escrow agreement, in such amount as may be determined appropriate by the Board.
For holding tanks with a capacity of 3,000 gallons or less, the property owner shall provide into escrow $750 per holding tank.
For holding tanks with a capacity exceeding 3,000 gallons, the property owner shall submit into escrow an amount being sufficient to cover the cost of future operation and maintenance of the holding tank over its designed lifetime up to a maximum of 50% of the initial cost of the equipment and installation, estimates for which amounts shall be submitted by the property owner for review and approval by the Township Engineer.
Said financial security shall be maintained in a form approved by the Township for so long as the said holding tank remains in place at a property. The Township, upon written notice from its delegated agent or enforcement officer that an immediate health hazard exists due to failure of property owner to maintain, repair or replace said holding tank, as provided under the terms of this article, shall, if a property owner persists in the failure to perform such maintenance repair or replacement, have the authority, although not the duty, to perform or contract or have performed the work required by such notice, the cost for which shall be charged to the financial security provided by the property and, if the said financial security is of an amount insufficient to satisfy all such obligations, a lien shall be entered therefor in accordance with the law to the benefit of the Township. All monies and/or financial security remaining in the possession of the Township at the time that the use of the holding tank is discontinued and the tank is properly filled or removed shall be returned to the owner.
The Township shall fully utilize those powers it possesses through enabling statutes, ordinances and codes to effect the purposes of this article.
The Township may employ an enforcement officer, Township Manager, administrator or other persons as may be required to enforce 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, use, maintenance and malfunction of the holding tank shall become the property of the Township. Existing and future records shall be available for public inspection during normal business hours at the Township building. All reports pertaining to permits, building permits, occupancy permits and all other aspects of the use and occupancy of this site shall be made available, upon request, for inspection by representatives of the DEP and Health Department.
The Board shall establish all administrative procedure necessary to properly carry out the provisions of this article.
The Board shall establish a fee schedule and subsequently collect fees to cover the cost to the Township of administering this article.
It shall be unlawful for any person to install, operate, use, alter or maintain a holding tank as part of a sewage system within the Township without first having been issued a permit by the county and/or state agency having jurisdiction.
It shall be unlawful for any person to install, operate, use, alter or maintain a holding tank where the design, operation or maintenance does not comply with each any every requirement of this article, any rules, regulations or resolutions adopted hereunder, and the statutes, rules and regulations of other state or county regulatory agencies having jurisdiction.
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with, violate or to cause or assist in the violation of any of the provisions of this article.
It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon a holding tank without fully complying with the provisions of this article.
Criminal penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this article shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each separate offense and/or may be sentenced to imprisonment not to exceed 90 days for each separate offense. The Enforcement Officer of the Township is authorized to issue or file nontraffic citations with the Magisterial District Judge with jurisdiction for any violations of this article, and the Solicitor for the Upper Hanover Township is hereby authorized to prosecute these summary offenses.
Civil penalties shall be as set forth in 35 P.S. § 750.13a.
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-06]
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-06]
In addition to any other remedies provided in this article, any violation of this article shall constitute a nuisance and may be abated by the Township, its Enforcement Officer, agents, servants and/or employees as may be designated by the Board either through enforcement of the Uniform Construction Code or through any other appropriate equitable or legal relief from a court of competent jurisdiction.