Piney Fork map

Area of Piney Fork Act 537 Plan, Peters Township Municipal Authority

Developers will pay for a new wastewater pump station if one is built near Peters Township’s northeastern corner.

Township council unanimously approved a resolution Monday amending the state-required sewage facilities plan for the Piney Fork Watershed, which flows east into Bethel Park.

The new section of the plan, developed by Peters Township Sanitary Authority, primarily addresses properties along Church Hill Road, the two most sizable of which are vacant and have the potential for future residential development.

“There is no plan on the sanitary authority’s part to construct this,” township manager Paul Lauer said about a pump station, “because the Peters Township Sanitary Authority does not construct sewer lines that facilitate the development of vacant property. And if this is ever to occur, it will only occur when the developer assumes the expense.”

According to the Act 537 plan, the official name of the facilities plan, the station would be built on property owned by the sanitary authority. Wastewater would flow by gravity to the facility and then be pumped back uphill to the authority’s Brush Run Water Pollution Control Plant.

“Now, this is not the ideal solution, but it is the only solution that is available,” Lauer told council.

He said a preferred course of action would be to tie into an interceptor in Bethel Park that leads to a treatment plant in South Park Township, but that has not proved to be feasible because the interceptor is over capacity.

“There were discussions back in 2003 with Bethel Park that went nowhere,” he said. “They revisited that in 2020. Bethel Park is still not interested.”

In the event residential development would create the need for public sewerage, his hope is sanitary authority officials could “re-engage a discussion with Bethel Park and find out whether or not it’s possible to do this on a gravity basis.”

Another possibility might have been construction of a small sewage treatment plant at the site of the proposed pump station, but neither the state Department of Environmental Protection nor nearby residents favor such a strategy, according to Lauer.

Listed in the Act 537 plan is the estimated cost of a pump station, $1.28 million, to “be privately funded by developers.”

“The schedule of implementation is driven by the anticipated development of the large undeveloped lots in the planning area,” the plan further states. “Therefore, specific dates cannot be proposed at this time.”

Two parcels in the area, totaling 56.2 acres, are vacant, and the Act 537 plan notes the potential for 85 “equivalent dwelling units” on both the properties combined. An EDU is equal to a sewage flow of 400 gallons per day, according to the DEP.

Also, four of the local parcels are five-plus acres and have the potential for a total of approximately 60 EDUs, the Act 537 plan states, and the total for “the ultimate build out of the planning area” is estimated at 174.

Current residents of the area use on-lot septic systems consisting of tanks and absorption fields.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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