2009-07-23 / Front Page

Ayr Adopts On-Lot Septic Pumping Ordinance

Systems must be pumped every three years

Ayr Township supervisors, responding to a state mandate, adopted an ordinance on Monday evening that will require that all on-lot sewage disposal systems (septic tanks, etc.) be pumped out within three years of the date of the ordinance and then once every three years after the initial pumping.

The ordinance passed as amended during a public meeting held to take comments. Only one Ayr resident attended and expressed approval of the ordinance.

According to Stanley J. Kerlin, Ayr solicitor, and supervisor Chairman "Sonny" Harr, the ordinance was enacted because mandatory pumping is being required by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Kerlin said the supervisors will divide the systems into thirds and beginning in 2010, will require pumping from a third each year in order to avoid having owners wait until the third year. Notices will be sent to owners of the septic systems informing them that they need to pump their system, and the owners will have 180 days from the date of the notice to do so.

In addition to pumping, all on-lot systems will be required to be inspected by an authorized agent within five years of the date of the ordinance and every seven years thereafter to determine if the system is working properly. Inspection must be done by a certified sewage enforcement officer (SEO), a professional engineer or any other qualified or licensed person who has been designated by the township to carry out the provisions of the ordinance. All properties with on-lot systems being sold must also have the systems inspected prior to sale.

Septic systems must be pumped and disposed of by haulers who will be required to register with the township. According to SEO Jonathan Piper, there are currently only three licensed haulers in the county. However, the ordinance also allows for outside haulers to pump systems, but they must register with the township to certify their Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) credentials. Haulers must also provide the township with information about how and where they dispose of the sewage sludge.

Piper also told the supervisors that both Taylor and Dublin are also putting ordinances in place, with Dublin set to begin in August of this year. Eventually, all townships will have to comply with the DEP mandates designed to effectively prevent and abate water pollution and hazards to the public health caused by improper treatment and disposal of sewage.

The ordinance exempts owners from the initial cycle if they have had their system pumped within the past two years and can show proof of that. The ordinance will require haulers to provide owners with a copy of the forms required to be filed with the township as proof of compliance.

The ordinance also has both civil and criminal penalties attached to it for noncompliance. The criminal penalty for violating the ordinance can be as high as $1,000 or 90 days in jail while the civil penalty can be as much as $600 per day for each day of noncompliance.

The supervisors estimated current local pumping rates at $125-$150 per system. It has not been decided whether recordkeeping for the pumping program will be done at the township level or be contracted to a third party.

In other business, the supervisors met with Matthew Myers and Brad Wissinger, who plan to open a new business "Buchanan Trail Sporters" within the M&M Electronics business in Penn's Village Shopping Plaza. The new business will sell guns, and the owners say that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) requires them to provide proof from the township that the sale of firearms does not violate any ordinance or zoning regulation. The supervisors said they do not have any ordinances prohibiting such sales.

Also during other business on Monday evening, the supervisors met with their insurance agent, Bob Peck, for an annual review of their insurance package. The package remains basically the same for insurance of equipment, vehicles, the township building, liability, and errors and omission. The annual premium for the insurance is $10,609. Last year's premium was $10,151.

The supervisors also reviewed information from CMX Telecommunications advising them that it will be erecting a telecommunications facility for Shentel at the corner of Route 30 and Back Run Road. The facility will be a 190-foot lattice tower to enhance wireless coverage in the area.

The supervisors reviewed their annual donation to the Mc- Connellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. and agreed to donate $5,000, - the same amount donated in 2007 and 2008.

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