ShareThis Page
Murrysville

Multi-agency agreements pave the way for Pucketa Creek sewage access in Murrysville

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, 4:54 p.m.
Michael Rathburn stands outside his Murrysville home along the Pucketa Creek. Stuck with a failing septic system and unable to make improvements due to his property's proximity to the creek, Rathburn is hoping an agreement approved Feb. 7, 2018, by Murrysville council will allow him to connect to nearby Washington Township sewer lines.
File photo
Michael Rathburn stands outside his Murrysville home along the Pucketa Creek. Stuck with a failing septic system and unable to make improvements due to his property's proximity to the creek, Rathburn is hoping an agreement approved Feb. 7, 2018, by Murrysville council will allow him to connect to nearby Washington Township sewer lines.

Murrysville officials have joined other agencies in clearing the way for property owners adjacent to the Washington Township sewage system to gain public sewer access, ending a process that has dragged on for more than a decade.

“When I started here nine years ago, there was a list of old-business items,” Jim Morrison, Murrysville's chief administrator, said. “This is the last item from that list. And it was probably the one that required the most patience.”

What began as a small group of homeowners looking to tie into the nearby Municipal Authority of Washington Township sewer lines eventually involved multiple governments and sewage authorities, court spats and finally the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Tying into Murrysville's existing sewer lines, owned by the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority, or FTMSA, would have been financially unfeasible, and several property owners were stuck with failing septic systems they could not repair or replace, due to their proximity to Pucketa Creek.

“Back in 1963, what was at that time Franklin Township granted authority for all sewer-related items to the (FTMSA),” Morrison said. “Over the last nine years, for one reason or another, they were not as excited about the project as homeowners and the other municipal authorities were. And as a result, it never happened.”

Ultimately, Murrysville officials and FTMSA identified 37 properties within the Pucketa Creek Watershed with the potential to tie into Washington Township's lines, although only a handful of property owners had actually expressed interest.

A few years ago, FTMSA officials threw their support behind the proposal, “and then Washington Township and another township, who need not be named at this point, decided they wanted their pound of flesh, and decided to drag things out,” Morrison told council members at a meeting Wednesday.

That unnamed township is Allegheny Township and its municipal authority . The authority's solicitor, Bernie Matthews, said his board members signed a separate agreement between Allegheny Township, its municipal authority, Murrysville and FTMSA.

The agreement unanimously approved by Murrysville council — members Jamie Lee Korns and Tony Spadaro were not present — includes Murrysville, FTMSA, Washington Township and its sewage authority, and the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority , where sewage from the newly tapped properties ultimately will end up.

Michael Rathburn has been holding onto his family's property in the Pucketa Creek Watershed for three years in hopes of finally gaining access to Washington Township's lines. He said he is cautiously optimistic about the situation moving forward.

“It's been such a long process, I don't want to assume anything until I get the official paperwork,” he said. “I've been crossing my fingers and hoping for the best that we would reach this point.”

Morrison seemed satisfied that the situation has been resolved.

“This has been a long time, and it's financially impacted residents of Murrysville who will now have access to sewer,” he said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me