| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Winfield Township places liens on 33 properties to secure sewer tap-in fees

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

AlleKiski Valley Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, May 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Winfield Township has placed liens on 33 properties because the owners haven't paid to tap into the new sewage system in the Cabot section of the municipality.

Residents are required to pay a $5,000 tap-in fee, plus other costs to run a line from their home to tie in.

Of the 33 liens, three home­owners are on four-year payment plans, township Supervisor Matt Klabnik said.

“There aren't as many people on the payment plan as we would like,” he said.

Gray Avenue resident Christine Thompson said although having a lien isn't ideal, she wished she would have known about the payment plan option.

“I wouldn't have had to take out a loan that I'm having trouble paying,” she said.

Thompson said she knew the sewer line was going in when she bought the house about a year ago and agrees it was needed, but the cost has been a hardship for her and her neighbors.

“I think it stinks that it was so expensive,” Thompson said.

The $8 million project connects about 320 homes to the Municipal Authority of Buffalo Township. It was completed in July.

The state Department of Environmental Protection mandated that the township put in public sewage in Cabot because some septic systems were leaking into Little Buffalo Creek.

“The project wasn't something that the township sought,” Klabnik said.

The township financed the project with two low-interest loans from state programs. It will use the tap-in fees to make the debt service payments.

Until last month, a trailer park along Winfield Road hadn't tapped into the system, said Joanne McKruit, who owns Bernie's Mobile Home Park with her husband, Bernard.

The McKruit family paid about $300,000 in tap-in fees for the 72 trailers and two homes at the park.

“We didn't think we should have been tapped in because our sewage system worked perfectly well,” she said.

But the township cited an agreement her husband signed when the trailer park opened in the 1960s. He agreed to tap into public sewage if it ever became available.

“That was only when we had a few trailers,” said Joanne McKruit, whose husband is in a nursing home.

“We were fighting for our rights and we didn't know if we were going to close or not,” she said. “Out of the clear blue sky I said, ‘my husband Bernie, this was his dream... all his life he worked so hard on this park.'”

She said tapping into the sewage system means she'll also have to pay to remove the old-style sewage treatment and remediate the site.

She said she's unsure how much that will cost.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read AlleKiski Valley

  1. Captured Armstrong jail escapee Crissman’s criminal history
  2. Rainy summer delays paving projects in New Kensington
  3. Armstrong inmate escapee charged with murdering family matriarch
  4. Winfield supervisors OK natural gas-drilling regulations
  5. Avonmore mayor to resign after being charged with theft
  6. Mt. St. Peter draws crowds with 34th annual Festa Italiana in New Kensington
  7. South Butler superintendent heads home for Mohawk job
  8. Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley offers free services at clinic
  9. Freeport to address sewage bill deadbeats