Pirl's predicament: Upper Tyrone resident seeks sewage relief
James Pirl, of Upper Tyrone Township, is probably one of the few individuals in the area still using an outhouse -- and it's not his choice.
Public sewage has not yet been offered to residents along Broadford Road, where his house is located, and township supervisors are not in favor of him installing a septic system since the property is located below flood level.
Pirl inherited the house and the outhouse when his father passed away.
Because Pirl has been having some health problems, his cousin, Mark Pletcher, has been attending township meetings since 1999 to see what can be done about Pirl's predicament.
Pletcher said he was told by township supervisors in 1999 that they hoped to bring public sewage to that area of the township in two years. Today they are still at least two years away from doing that.
Supervisors have discussed Pirl's plight with Pletcher, suggesting a sand mound. Pletcher said a sand mound would cost about $12,000, an unnecessary expense if public sewage will be available to Pirl soon.
Township Supervisor Sam Killinger said Pirl also has the option of a holding tank that could be placed below ground since it's a sealed unit.
"He would have to get it pumped every so often," Killinger said.
The supervisors also suggested a biodegradable toilet.
"It runs on electric and a lot of people get them for their cabins," Killinger said. "It leaves no waste."
Pletcher said he does not remember those two suggestions being mentioned.
"We're trying to work with him as much as we can," Killinger said.
He added supervisors have been trying to obtain public sewage for the 300 homes in the township that need it.
"We've got the land study done and now we're waiting for DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) to give us their recommendation on whether we should construct our own system or tie into Westmoreland (Westmoreland/Fayette Municipal Authority)," Killinger said.
The DEP's Betsy Mallison said the state agency is working with the township to bring public sewage to the area.
But no matter what is decided, Killinger said it will still be at least two years before anything comes to fruition.
"He (Pirl) could tap into Everson's line if he got permission from Everson and from the railroad for his line to go under the tracks," Killinger said.
"It will cost about $800 if we can get permission from the railroad," Pletcher said, indicating he would pursue that course of action if nothing else works with the township.
"He pays his taxes," Pletcher said. "I just don't understand why the supervisors can't help."