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River Forest residents vow sewage plant fight

| Tuesday, April 5, 2005

ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP -- River Forest resident Jim Huckestein said residents will fight any attempt to put a sewage treatment facility in that section of the township.

Huckestein was one af about six River Forest residents who attended the Allegheny Township Municipal Authority meeting Monday. He said some residents have met with an attorney to discuss their options.

"We're not going to have it built in River Forest, that's all there is to it," Huckestein said.

River Forest Partners has proposed an expansion of the development that would bring in an additional 400 homes and 200 assisted living units -- and an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 new residents -- to the river front neighborhood.

Currently, there are roughly 60 single-family homes in River Forest.

To service the expansion -- which would include single-family homes, carriage and patio homes as well as the assisted living facilities -- the developers are tentatively proposing building a small sewerage plant, also called a "package plant," on the grounds of neighboring River Forest Country Club.

Herman Tomer, an official with River Forest Partners wasn't at the meeting, but when contacted by phone said they've tried unsuccessfully since 2001 to find another sewage system to connect with, and at this time the "package plant" appears to be the best option.

Huckestein said residents aren't opposed to the development, but said a sewage plant could lower property values because it could create noise and odor.

Tomer said they have been very forthcoming with residents. He disagrees with the belief that that the plant would have an adverse effect on the area. They are basing projections on a 200,000-gallon capacity.

"We run a golf course and we are intending to put it on our property," he said. "It would be entirely sealed. You don't see them, you don't smell them and you don't hear them."

Municipal authority member Frank Paolo said the authority doesn't know much about the plan.

"We have not gotten anything from River Forest," Paolo said. "At this point, the ball is in their court."

Authority Solicitor Bernie Matthews said the treatment plant would have to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

"The DEP is going to be the most important agency when it comes to location," Matthews said. "It's really in their hands at this point."

Tomer said the plan has received preliminary approval from township supervisors and they have been in contact with engineers as well as PennDOT and DEP officials.

Tomer didn't say Monday when officials expect to break ground.

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