First Posted: 9/5/2013
LAKE CAREY — Two Wyoming County townships continue their fight for compliance with state sewage treatment standards after their action plan was denied last month by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
After receiving a first letter on July 16 outlining the plan’s deficiencies, Lemon and Tunkhannock township officials met with state agency officials Aug. 13 to review a sewage-abatement plan for the community surrounding Lake Carey.
DEP issued a formal denial letter Aug. 28 informing both townships their plan remains deficient.
Of highest importance to DEP: The plan depended on too many conditions, such as available outside funding.
Public notice, notably of how customers will pay for sewage services, did not meet state standards, according to the letter. DEP also took exception to the needs study performed by township officials to identify problem areas, stating the reports are inconclusive.
These were the same flaws noted in DEP’s first letter.
According to the Sewage Facilities Act, commonly known as Act 537, all municipalities must have some form of sewage treatment system in place, either on-lot private systems or a communal treatment program.
As a formality, Lemon Township Board of Supervisors voted last week to appeal DEP’s denial, said board Chairman John Keefe.
But engineers on the job, Harleth Davis of Harleth W. Davis Consulting and Ned Slocum of Milnes Construction, are moving forward to allay DEP concerns, Slocum said. The six total deficiencies can be resolved without much additional effort, and they are moving forward to complete the plan in a timely manner, he said.
The townships had identified a central sewage system as the most cost-effective solution, choosing pipes that run around the lake. But the plan must equally consider other viable solutions, Keefe said.
The plan was budgeted to cost about $130,000 to finish. However, the townships assert that together they have shelled out more than $360,000, and some of the residents are frustrated with the delay.
The townships’ plan includes a separate sewage plan for the Hilltop Drive and Maple Lane neighborhood, which is in Tunkhannock Township. This leg of the project has not received as much scrutiny, as it taps into the existing Tunkhannock Borough system. The Lake Carey pipes would run as part of its own system and be moved to a treatment center near Tunkhannock Creek and Shadowbrook Inn & Resort.
DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said there is no one trick to completing the complex sewage plan, but as long as the townships show good faith to carry on, the agency will offer support.
“We’re not looking to hurt any municipality. Unfortunately the law is what it is,” Connolly said.