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Findley Park sewage issues close to being resolved

Mercersburg borough will take over ownership and operation of pumping station

April 14, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Calling it "a decent solution to a complicated problem," lawyer Sam Wiser told the Mercersburg Sewer Authority Thursday that sewage issues with the Findlay Park neighborhood are close to being resolved.

When the power was turned off to a pumping station three times, sewage leaked from a manhole. Mercersburg borough officials said the developer, Dorsey Builders of Sykesville, Md., did not pay the electric bill.

Borough public works employees have been filling a generator with diesel fuel and turning it on to move sewage through the system. Otherwise, sewage could back up into the single-family houses.

Wiser, solicitor for the borough council and sewer authority, said he met with Dorsey Builders President Phillip Dorsey on Thursday to sign over ownership of public facilities, including streets, sewer lines and water lines.

"It all came together in the last 48 hours," Wiser said.

The development is split between Mercersburg borough and Peters Township west of the intersection of Pa. 16 and Pa. 75. Neither municipality had received deeds of dedications for the public facilities before this week.

"I do feel this is a huge leap forward," Wiser said.

Bench warrants for Phillip Dorsey were filed through Magisterial District Judge David Hawbaker's office for failure to operate the pumping station. Now, the borough will use the $39,000 that remains in an escrow account for legal fees and public improvements, and it will take over ownership and operation of the pumping station.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will revoke the operational permit from Dorsey Builders and reissue it to the borough, Wiser said.

Borough officials are talking about creating a special rate district for Findlay Park pertaining to the residents' sewer fees. Wiser said it will cost more to operate the pumping station than what is collected in fees because only 32 homes are connected.

Sewer authority member Catalin Bonciu asked why Findlay Park residents should pay more and suggested the homeowners should enter into a class-action lawsuit.

"How could this happen?" he asked.

"I think we're a victim of today's economy," Wiser said.

Borough officials said in previous interviews they had been unable to reach Dorsey Builders by phone or email. However, Wiser said one of Dorsey Builders' representatives called him after Monday night's borough council meeting, where the issue was discussed at length.

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