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Approximately $13 million sewer plan unveiled

BEAR CREEK TWP. -- A standing-room-only crowd of about 150 people crammed the township building Monday night to hear about a sewer plan that is nearing reality almost 40 years after it was first discussed.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Zingaretti detailed the history of the plan, which started when Act 537, a state law governing sanitary disposal of sewage, was passed in 1968.

In 1973, the township adopted its first Act 537 plan. Four engineering companies and several appeals later, Zingaretti said, the state Department of Environmental Resources ordered the township to adopt a plan that called for sewers to be installed in Llewellyn Corners, Forest Park, Country Club Estates and Trailwood.

The last appeal was in 2008, Zingaretti said, and since then the township has been proceeding with the many steps of implementing what is now known as the DEP’s ruling.

Five plans were reviewed, ranging in cost from $13 million to $21 million, he said, and supervisors decided to proceed with the least expensive plan. It calls for the township to connect to the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority through the Plains Township lines.

If the DEP approves that plan, Zingaretti said, current estimates are that each of the approximately 480 units that will be required to connect will pay a one-time $500 connection fee, plus the cost of running the lines and connections, plus an estimated $91.50 a month.

He stressed these are only estimates and actual construction costs and grant availability could affect the estimates.

Before fielding more than 45 minutes of questions, Zingaretti said it will be at least late 2013 or early 2014 before work starts on the sewers.

He said the first step is to get the plan in to DEP for approval so the township can seek bids and get a firm cost for the project, and begin pursuing grant money.

“If there’s one thing you leave here with tonight, it’s that until we have an approved plan, we can’t go looking for grant money,” he said.

Zingaretti answered questions clarifying points raised during the presentation, as well as some raised by residents concerned about their own specific situations. Some asked about shared access right of way issues and other unique situations that Zingaretti said would have to be reviewed individually.

Others wanted to know about issues such as what would happen if sewer project work affected fresh springs and cut off the water supply. They also wanted to know what would happen if the sewer’s path ran through a lot of rock.

Zingaretti said many questions will need to be answered at a later time.

What’s Next?

A public comment meeting on the sewer plan will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 7, likely at a bigger location yet to be determined.

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