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October 21, 2016
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Septic subjections; Townships say policy will reduce land values

Hunt also noted that the DEP’s proposed policy seems to contradict itself, as it reads in part, “In the soil absorption field, organic compounds are degraded and impurities are filtered out in the soil matrix. A septic system that is properly designed, located, installed and maintained through periodic pumping of the septic tank can treat sewage safely and effectively for decades.”

“These are your words,” she wrote.

In addition, Berlin expresses further concern because it says the proposed policy makes no specific suggestion on how to deal with all of the previous lots that have been subdivided and sold as buildable lots. “This policy also excludes the current practices that have been used successfully in northeastern Pennsylvania,” according to Berlin’s letter.

The new policy also would create administrative burdens for the townships because they would have to track the best management practices required on each property, according to the supervisors. “All of this burdensome action is to prevent a problem which does not exist,” the Damascus letter said.

The proposed policy also states the townships must have a sewage management program, which would cost each residence about $500 per year, in addition to administrative costs, according to the Damascus letter.

“We are certain the combined efforts of local planning and zoning, as well as having a qualified SEO (sewage enforcement officer), working with DEP guidance have created a record of improving ground water in our township,” the Damascus supervisors stated in the letter.

Berlin’s letter said the proposed policy could cause many residents to leave Pennsylvania for a “more friendly state to live in.” The letter added, “This will also cause many of our young people to leave Pennsylvania because they would not be able to afford a home.”

The DEP has extended the public comment period on the policy and will continue to accept comments through June 3.