Clearfield Boro to monitor sewer system|
Friday, June 15, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
Clearfield Borough will again start another enforcement program to make sure downspouts and sump pumps are not connected to the sewer system.
At last night's committee meetings of the Clearfield Borough Council, borough operations manager Leslie Stott said the new program will probably start in the fall and will likely use a combination of methods including smoke testing, the placement of flow meters in the sewer system and possibly inspections.
She said they will likely start in West Side because they are still receiving substantial amounts of storm water in the sanitary sewer system in that area of town.
The borough performed smoke testing on the system last year, which found approximately 40-50 homes in violation, which were corrected and retested, Stott said.
She said it is important that all storm water drains, downspouts and sump pumps are removed from the sanitary sewer system and asked residents if they believe they might have some that are connected to the sanitary sewer system to contact the borough so they can inspect them to see if there is an issue.
Clearfield Borough, Lawrence Township and the Clearfield Municipal Authority are under a mandate by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency to remove storm water from its sanitary system to keep raw sewage from flowing into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Clearfield has a combined sewer system where the storm sewer lines are interconnected to the sanitary sewer lines causing them to be overloaded during rain events forcing the CMA to discharge raw sewage into the river to keep it from backing up into residences and businesses.
The DEP has placed a consent order on the borough, township and the CMA to separate its sanitary and storm systems.
Several years ago, the borough was mandated to replace all of its sewer lines at a cost of approximately $27 million and Lawrence Township undertook several projects totaling $6.3 million.
However, despite these efforts, the system is still receiving substantial amounts of storm water in the sanitary system and CMA continues to discharge sewage into the river during rain events. But because the three sewer systems of the three entities are interconnected, it is difficult to tell which sewer system is to blame.
But if the storm water is not removed from the system, the DEP could require the CMA's interceptor lines be upgraded to give them the capacity to carry the excess water to the CMA's sewer plant for treatment instead of it being discharged directly into the river. However, such a project would be expensive and CMA's engineers estimate this would cost between $20 million to $30 million, according to a previous article in The Progress.
Stott said the borough and its engineer, Stiffler McGraw & Associates of Hollidaysburg, were recently asked by the DEP how many combined sewers it has in its system and she said they informed the DEP the borough doesn't have any and has replaced its entire sewer system.
Stott said the borough has done everything possible to meet the DEP's mandate to remove storm water from the sanitary sewer system including replacing its entire sanitary system, and conducting inspections and maintaining an enforcement program with documentation and noted that because of these efforts, borough residents pay substantially higher sewer rates than township residents.
In a phone interview this morning with The Progress, CMA manager Jeff Williams said the DEP had cancelled its May 30 inspection of Clearfield's CSOs (combined system overflows) to give them more time to digest the data submitted to the DEP by the CMA, the township and the borough.
He said the DEP also asked the engineers of all three entities to submit detailed maps of their sewer systems.
In other business:
• Police Chief Vincent McGinnis said he could not comment at this time when asked the employment status of part-time police officer Kem Parada. Parada was recently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Richard Ireland on June 6. McGinnis said they have to wait until the legal process is completed before any decision is made regarding Parada. Parada was hired as a part-time officer by the borough in January 2011, according to a previous article in The Progress.
• Stott reported the playground equipment for Kurtz Park has been delivered and the French drains for the park have been installed and said the playground equipment installation is scheduled to begin Wednesday.
She said the new benches for Upper Witmer Park have also been delivered and are scheduled to be installed next month after the borough crew completes work on the Daisy Street storm sewer project.
• Stott said the borough received a request from a resident that no smoking signs be installed at the borough's parks. Stott said she is going to look into the legalities of the issue.