Share This Page

Questions, concerns delay vote on Springdale Township sewer ordinance

| Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 1:01 a.m.

Residents' questions and concerns about the costs and details of a new sewage system in their Springdale Township neighborhood caused the township commissioners on Wednesday to delay approving regulations that would be imposed upon them for it.

The commissioners held the special meeting solely to vote on the sanitary sewer district ordinance, but took no action. Chairman George Manning said township officials will continue to discuss the project's details with residents.

The system would serve 17 properties on Melzina and Adeline that now use septic systems.

Some residents of the area are frustrated with township officials, who they say are not answering their questions or giving them information, including how much the system is going to cost each of them. They were happy the ordinance was not enacted.

“At least we get a break,” said Jack Burns of Melzina Street. “This whole thing has been a nightmare.”

“They still have no answers,” said his wife, Mariana. “We're still at square one.”

Krista Kochosky, an attorney representing the residents, said she has had difficulty getting documents and information from the township.

“I am glad that the board decided to revisit the ordinance before adopting it,” she said. “I hope the comments and criticisms of the residents were well-received by the board.”

The commissioners ultimately agreed with Kochosky, who said the ordinance could not be enacted without current and accurate cost information.

The commissioners initially said the ordinance could be changed if needed. Residents asked why they'd enact an ordinance knowing it would have to be changed.

As Kochosky reviewed the project's costs as listed, commissioners said there were several that were either lower than stated or not incurred at all.

Commissioner Ken Igo asked what the harm would be in waiting.

“We need to at least have final costs,” he said.

A significant cost that may change is if the township allows residents to buy their own grinder pump rather than use one provided by the township.

The system being installed requires each home to have its own grinder pump, which each homeowner has to pay to operate and maintain.

Manning said this was found to be the most cost-effective system for the area.

Residents are saying they can buy pumps for less on their own than if they are included in the project. Manning said township officials are open to talking about the pumps.

Such a discussion had already taken place over the lateral lines — pipes that carry sewage between the home and curb.

Residents said they could get the work done for less on their own; the township acquiesced and took lateral lines out of the project.

Kochosky objected to a provision that would allow the township to go onto a homeowner's property to repair the grinder pump and bill the cost back to the homeowner if the homeowner fails to maintain it. Solicitor Steve Yakopec agreed, and commissioners were going to remove that provision.

While it's not yet known what the system will cost homeowners, the ordinance has a provision for a payment plan.

Kochosky said that should be granted automatically, rather than residents having to apply for it.

The township received a $200,000 grant from county toward the project. Kochosky said the township could seek more funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection to further lower the cost to residents; Manning said the township would look into it.

Kochosky and Manning agreed that the goal is to get the cost to residents as low as possible.

“We're going to listen to what they have to say,” Manning said. “I think we are working for the residents. I'm confident in the end we'll be able to resolve our issues.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@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.