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Greene forcing septic pumping every 3 years

March 30, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Greene Township residents with on-lot septic systems will be required to have their tanks pumped at least once every three years under an ordinance approved by the Township Supervisors Tuesday.

Zoning Officer Mike Gossert said the ordinance, which goes into effect Monday, covers about one-fifth of the households in the township, or about 1,200 homes. The ordinance divides the township into three districts, in which property owners will be notified year by year on a rotating basis.

Residents in the first district, which Gossert said is primarily the part of the township west of U.S. 11, will begin receiving notifications by mail in the near future. Septic haulers in the county quoted prices from $85 to $120 for the service, depending on the size of a tank and other factors.

Gossert said Wednesday the ordinance was required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as part of the update of the township's sewage facilities plan. "If we didn't comply with this, they could put a moratorium on new construction in the township," Gossert said.

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Supervisor Dave Jamison said the ordinance is aimed at protecting groundwater supplies, but periodic pumping can also prevent malfunctions of septic systems, which are expensive for homeowners to repair or replace.

"We've had, overall, a positive response from people," Jamison said.

"I think, overall, it's going to be a good thing for groundwater quality control, but for new systems I think the frequency of pumping is more than is required," said resident Jeff Wiley. He said the system at is home has two tanks in sequence and he has not had it pumped out since it was built in 1992.

"There will be some kind of exception if it's a newly installed system," Sewer Enforcement Officer Vince Elbel said. Most new homes, however, are being built where there are existing municipal sewer lines, he said.

Elbel said haulers serving the township will have to be licensed and they will submit pumping inspection reports that will verify that property owners have complied with the ordinance.

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