Sewage plant may go near trail
A slice of former railroad property is gaining favor as the site of Summit's proposed sewage treatment facility.
The long-proposed plant would provide public sewage treatment for about 500 homes and businesses in the village of Herman.
The township is working with Buffalo Township, which appears to own the land near Loco Lane, a private drive off Herman Road.
The 10-acre tract was used as a turnaround for locomotive engines that traveled the rail line that is now the adjacent Butler-Freeport Community Trail.
“They asked us about it and we're debating whether we want to keep that piece of property,” said Buffalo Township Supervisor John Haven.
Haven said Buffalo Township just finished clearing trees and brush from the land for possible use as a recreational area. “We'd rather it not be a sewage plant if they can go across the road.”
The other site being considered for the plant is across Herman Road at the former Summit baseball fields on land owned by Robert “Beau” Sechan.
“The railroad piece is the better of the two in terms of flood-plain issues,” said Rich Craft, project engineer with Olsen & Associates of Butler, the township's engineer. “Coal Run goes through the (Sechan) area and there is a FEMA-defined flood plain through the property. That's one less unknown we would have.”
He said construction costs for both sites would be about the same, despite the uneven terrain on the railroad site.
“It's not level. It's not the perfect location,” said Summit Supervisor Willie Adams. “But with some excavating it could be made into a site.”
The township has been negotiating with Sechan on an exclusive option to purchase the ballfield property and conduct state-required environmental testing, but Sechan hasn't made it easy, township officials said.
Sechan or his attorney typically takes several weeks to respond to township inquiries, Summit Supervisor Larry Osche told Buffalo Township's supervisors in April.
“I'm not sure what his plans were for it, but he doesn't seem to be interested in selling it,” Adams said.
Sechan said that's not necessarily the case.
“I don't have to sell it, but if the price is right I might dispose of some of it,” said Sechan, who lives in Florida, but still operates a business in Pennsylvania. He said he doesn't have a problem with a sewage plant located near property he'd still own.
“I think we'll probably be able to work out something,” he said. “My attorneys handle most of the sales stuff.”
In 2004, the state Department of Environmental Protection found failing septic systems in the Herman area and mandated that Summit Township find a solution.
Since then, the department has been tracking the township's progress toward installing public sewage there.
A 60-day deadline for Summit to provide an update is approaching.
“It's routine, but DEP wants to see action,” said Summit's solicitor, Michael Gallagher.
Summit officials have consulted with the Municipal Authority of Buffalo Township, the Saxonburg Area Authority and Butler Area Sewer Authority to see if they might be suitable providers.
The township twice pursued the option of running a sewage line through Jefferson Township to the Saxonburg Area Authority.
But Jefferson residents opposed the seven-mile line along Thorn Run.
Summit later abandoned the plan in favor of building its own treatment plant.
“We run into obstacles with every other plan,” Adams said of why the township has settled on building its own treatment facility.
Buffalo and Summit officials are scheduled to meet at the former rail site soon.
Although Buffalo claims the property, Gallagher is conducting an extensive deed search and investigation into who owns the land in order to avoid any problems if a sale proceeds.
It's unclear if Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) owns the land because the parcel was conveyed to Buffalo Township via a ‘quitclaim' deed, Gallagher said.
A quitclaim is not a guarantee that Buffalo has clear title to the property because the entity conveying the property relinquishes the rights and not the title.
Butler County property records list Pennsylvania Railroad Co. as the owner, but Haven said Buffalo holds the deed.
“We purchased all the property that Penn Central had, and that was part of it,” Haven said.
Buffalo owns the 20-mile rails-to-trails, which runs from Freeport to the City of Butler.
The rail line ultimately was operated by Penn Central Corp. (formerly Pennsylvania Railroad), which went bankrupt in the 1970s. Its assets were split between Amtrak and Conrail.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Police investigate reports bus driver allowed Fox Chapel students to change clothes
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Puppy, pals come to rescue of Lower Burrell firefighters
- Christmas parade gets warm welcome in Saxonburg
- South Butler students push composting as a way to slow food waste
- Retirements help trim Arnold budget
- Apollo-Ridge closer to naming buildings, facilities
- CNG station approved for Harmar
- Congressman Rothfus visits Kistaco Farm in Kiski Township
- Second-graders at Fawn Elementary School hold forth on origin, meaning of Thanksgiving
- New Kensington-Arnold School Board reviews facilities use policy