Township of Palmer, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Palmer 6-26-1984 as Ord. No. 205. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Joint Sewer Board — See Ch. 11.
Municipal Sewer Authority — See Ch. 17.
Individual sewage disposal systems — See Ch. 145.

§ 65-1 Definitions.

A. 
Other words and phrases shall be given their usual and ordinary meaning.
B. 
The following words and phrases shall be defined as follows in the context of this ordinance:
DER
The Department of Environmental Resources of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
DISPOSAL
The discharge, deposit, spreading, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, storing or placing of any sewage sludge or other similar waste material from municipal sewage treatment plants in any mode or manner into or on any land in the township, provided that the spreading of manure generated from conventional agricultural activities or normal farming operations and/or mushroom compost on cropland or farmland for agricultural purposes shall not be included within this term, and such activity shall not be regulated by this ordinance.
SEPTAGE
All and any waste material being stored in or pumped from private residential systems.
SEWAGE SLUDGE
As defined in Chapter 75, Page 3, of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources Solid Waste Management Rules and Regulations, i.e., "the coarse screenings, grit and dewatered or air-dried sludges, septic tanks and holding tank pumping and other residues from sewage collection and treatment systems which require disposal," including but not limited to digested plant sludge from a legally operating sewage treatment plant/facility which any person or entity seeks to dispose of, as defined above, on or in any lands of the township.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Palmer (Northampton County, Pennsylvania).

§ 65-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this ordinance is as follows:
A. 
To provide for the protection and preservation of natural resources and agricultural land and activities in the township.
B. 
To protect and promote the health, cleanliness, comfort and safety of the citizens of the township.
C. 
To further the overall purposes of the Palmer Township Zoning Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 190, Zoning.
D. 
To permit, in certain limited circumstances, in accordance with standard agricultural practices and specifically incidental to agricultural activities and in accordance with the rules and regulations of this ordinance and DER, the storage, disposal and land surface application of certain sewage sludge from municipal sewage treatment plants.

§ 65-3 Statutory authority.

This ordinance is enacted pursuant to the following authority:
A. 
The sections of the Second Class Township Code (Act of May 1, 1933, P.L. 103 et seq., as amended) authorizing the township to enact ordinances dealing with the protection of the health of township residents, refuse materials, nuisances and public safety, as codified in Volume 53 of Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at Sections 65708, 65712, 65729 and 65747, as amended.
B. 
The applicable provisions of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act (Act of July 7, 1980, P.L. 380 et seq., as amended) codified in Volume 35 of Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at Section 6018.101 et seq., as amended.
C. 
The applicable provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code dealing with zoning ordinance regulations, codified in Volume 53 of Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at Sections 10601 and 10603, as amended.

§ 65-4 Application procedure.

Any person, association, company or entity desiring to store or dispose sewage sludge in or on any land or property within the township shall first submit an application to the township, as prepared and certified by a registered engineer, as follows:
A. 
The request for the agricultural utilization of the sewage sludge shall be reviewed and permitted only as a conditional use, the same to be submitted to the Palmer Township Planning Commission for initial review. The Planning Commission, in accordance with the standards and regulations set forth herein, shall review the same and make written recommendations to the Township Board of Supervisors within 30 days after receipt of the application.
B. 
The Township Board of Supervisors shall, within 60 days after the date of receipt of the application, render a final decision on the application in accordance with the standards and regulations set forth herein and after review of the recommendations of the Township Planning Commission. The final decision by the Board of Supervisors shall be either to approve the application as presented, disapprove the application as presented or approve the application subject to specific conditions, the failure to comply with which by the applicant to be grounds for revocation of such approval. As part of the review process, the Township Board of Supervisors may, in its discretion, schedule a public hearing pursuant to public notice for the purposes of reviewing the said application and receiving the comments of the public.
C. 
Any application for the storage or disposal of sewage sludge shall be joined into by the owner of the property upon which the sludge is to be deposited. In addition, the application shall include a copy of all and any agreements between the generator of the sewage sludge, the hauler of the sewage sludge, the applicator of the sewage sludge and the landowner of the property upon which the sewage sludge is to be deposited, setting forth full details of the contractual relationship among them. Information, records and reports as to the reliability and responsibility of the generator of the sewage sludge, the hauler of the sewage sludge, the applicator of the sewage sludge and the landowner upon whose property the sewage sludge is to be deposited may be required by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors of the township to assist them in carrying out the purpose, spirit and intent of this ordinance.
D. 
A minimum, nonrefundable fee in the amount of $500 shall accompany all such applications. Said application fee shall be used to offset all township costs, including engineering fees in processing the application. In the event that the said costs exceed the minimum, the applicant shall pay such additional fees as the additional costs require immediately upon notification by the township.
E. 
In addition, a minimum, nonrefundable fee of $200 per month shall be paid by the applicant for each month that the sewage sludge disposal operation is in effect to offset the township costs in monitoring the said operation.
F. 
Each site proposed for the storage or disposal of sewage sludge shall require a separate application.
G. 
The proposed application shall include all of the necessary information set forth below to assist in the Township Planning Commission and the Township Board of Supervisors and DER to review the said application, together with the required fee. The said application shall be submitted to the Township Secretary at the Township Municipal Building at 3245 Freemansburg Avenue, Palmer Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. The Secretary immediately shall forward the said application to the Township Engineer who shall review the same upon receipt. If the said application does not contain all of the required information and/or the required fee, the Township Engineer, immediately shall notify the applicant in writing of the additional information and/or fee required. The thirty-day period for review by the Township Planning Commission and/or the sixty-day period for review by the Township Board of Supervisors shall not commence until the applicant has supplied the township with all of the required information and/or all of the required fee.
H. 
The application to the township shall contain the following information:
(1) 
A copy of the application submitted to DER, together with copies of any and all other materials, documents, drawings or other information submitted to the said DER.
(2) 
A description in narrative form of the proposed application program, including the sources of the sewage sludge, the method of transportation to the site, a timetable for application, a description of any storage operation, the proposed utilization rate, the total acreage involved and the useful life of the proposed site.
(3) 
A topographical drawing to a scale no greater than one inch to 200 feet showing:
(a) 
The location of the site relative to public roads.
(b) 
Identity of owners of adjacent properties.
(c) 
Boundaries of the area to be used for land application.
(d) 
Location of public and private water supplies, wells, springs, streams, swamps and other bodies of water within 1/4 of one mile of the boundaries of the proposed land application site.
(e) 
Soil classifications of the land application area.
(f) 
Vegetation.
(4) 
A soil and geologic report indicating the physical characteristics of the site with respect to its suitability for the application of sewage sludge. This report shall be based on available soil survey and geological data and be accompanied by a field test analysis. The said field test analysis shall include the following:
(a) 
Soil borings by a soil scientist to confirm that actual soil profit characteristics are consistent with published survey soil data.
(b) 
Groundwater monitoring wells shall be established to test water quality prior to, during and after the application program. Groundwater composition shall be included in the application, along with subsequent quarterly monitoring during the application program. The locations of the monitoring wells shall be approved by the Township Engineer prior to drilling. In the event that groundwater is found to flow in several directions, a monitor well for each direction shall be required.
(5) 
A chemical analysis of the sewage sludge from each proposed source. The analysis shall be done by an independent laboratory approved by the township and shall involve a minimum of four samples. The analysis shall include the following items:
(a) 
Total moisture content.
(b) 
Percent of total nitrogen (wet and dry weight).
(c) 
Percent ammonia nitrogen (wet and dry weight).
(d) 
Percent organic nitrogen (wet and dry weight).
(e) 
Biochemical oxygen demand.
(f) 
pH.
(g) 
Percent on a dry-weight basis of cyanide, sodium, cadmium, zinc, copper, nickel, lead, chromium, mercury, molybdenum and other toxic substances and enteric pathogens.

§ 65-5 Standards and regulations.

The standards and regulations for the storage, disposal and application of sewage sludge in and to the land in the township shall be in accordance with all existing standards and regulations of DER, as set forth in Chapter 75, Title 25, Rules and Regulations, Department of Environmental Resources, except that the following additional standards and regulations shall be imposed:
A. 
No site shall be approved for the storage, application or disposal of sewage sludge which is less than 20 contiguous acres in size. A plot consisting of 20 acres, divided by a public road, is not to be construed as a single site.
B. 
Sewage sludge shall not be stored, applied or disposed of within 250 feet of any stream, 500 feet of any water supply, 100 feet of any property lines and 300 feet of any occupied dwellings.
C. 
No storage, application or disposal of sewage sludge shall take place on any slope exceeding 12%.
D. 
No sewage sludge shall be stored, applied or disposed of that is not generated by a public sewage treatment facility within the political subdivision known as "Northampton County, Pennsylvania." The storage, application or disposal of septage is strictly prohibited.
E. 
All sites to be considered for sewage sludge storage, application and disposal shall have direct access by improved public roads of concrete or macadam of a minimum of 24 feet in width. Access to the site, itself, must be provided by a mud-free driveway of concrete or macadam. In the event that access to the proposed site is by a nonimproved road and/or a nonimproved driveway, the township shall require that the application bear the sole cost of upgrading the road and driveway to meet all township standards of a public road or driveway in order to accommodate the number and weight of trucks anticipated to the site. The cost to be imposed on the application on such event shall include, if necessary, the acquisition of rights-of-way and improvements thereof.
F. 
Each load of sewage sludge shall be accompanied by a manifest showing the amount of the sludge as well as its origin and destination.
G. 
All applicants must maintain full and complete records on each separate application, the same to be submitted to the township upon request. The records so involved shall include the quantities, dates and locations of the sewage sludge application, the origin of the same and the delivery of the same.
H. 
The proposed operation shall not create a nuisance in the township or otherwise impose a hardship on adjoining property owners or the township in general.
I. 
All operations shall be strictly in conformity and compliance with the requirements of this ordinance, DER and all and any other governmental regulatory agencies.
J. 
Chemical analysis and laboratory testing of the sewage sludge from each source may be required by the township, at the sole and exclusive cost of the applicant, by an independent laboratory selected or approved by the Township Board of Supervisors to ensure that the sewage sludge content remains within the limits established by DER and the regulations of this ordinance and shall include a minimum of four samples a year as part of the monitoring process. The sewage sludge analysis shall show recommended rates and lifetime loading. The soil shall be monitored annually during the operation of the sewage sludge disposal site, at the sole and exclusive cost of the applicant, to determine the level of metal accumulation.
K. 
Sewage sludge so applied to the land shall be injected under the surface of the soil or, if spread on the surface, shall be plowed under within 24 hours after so spreading.
L. 
Any ponding or standing accumulations of said sewage sludge material is expressly prohibited.
M. 
The said sewage sludge materials are to be applied in quantities which will result in no runoff, spreading, vector or odor problem. In addition, said materials are not to be applied in quantities which will result in surface or ground water contamination or pollution.
N. 
The sewage sludge material is not to be applied when the ground is saturated, snow-covered, frozen or during periods of rain.
O. 
The storage of sewage sludge is subject to all of the foregoing standards and regulations together with the following:
(1) 
Sewage sludge storage facilities shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the prevailing standards and regulations of DER. No storage site or facility may have a capacity greater than 50,000 gallons of liquid sludge.
(2) 
All sewage sludge storage facilities must be located underground, be lined and covered with an impervious, waterproof, leakproof material and must be enclosed by a fence having a minimum height of 10 feet, so designed as to prevent trespassing. Entrance and exit gates shall be located at all times during non-use.
(3) 
A delivery schedule shall be submitted to the township prior to the issuance of a permit, indicating the number of deliveries and type of trucks to be used. All deliveries shall occur on Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(4) 
A groundwater monitoring system shall be required to test water quality during the storage process. The location of the monitoring wells shall be approved by the Township Engineer prior to drilling. If groundwater is found to flow in several directions, a monitor well shall be required for each direction of flow.
(5) 
An applicant who has obtained approval from the township to utilize a sewage sludge storage facility, may store a quantity of sludge equivalent to one day's usage, provided that, at the expiration of 24 hours from the commencement of the storage, the said sewage sludge must either be applied or removed from the property.
(6) 
All storage facilities must be set back at least 100 feet from all public roads.
(7) 
A maximum of two storage tanks shall be permitted per site.

§ 65-6 Bonds; indemnification; insurance.

In order to assure that the applicant complies with the standards and regulations set forth herein, with DER and any other governmental regulatory body and for the protection of the township in the storage, application and disposal of sewage sludge, the applicant shall present the township with the following bonds:
A. 
Performance bond. The applicant shall assure the township, by means of a corporate bond, with surety, or the deposit of cash or securities in escrow sufficient to cover the cost, as estimated by Township Engineer, of performing the various tests and duties imposed upon him by the ordinance over the expected useful life of the site plus five years. The bond shall be furnished under such conditions and form and with such surety as shall be approved by the Township Solicitor to guarantee and secure that all such tests and duties are fully and adequately performed and are paid for by the applicant and that the township shall, in no event, be held liable for the costs of any such duties or tests. If cash or securities are deposited in lieu of a bond, the said deposit is to be made pursuant to an escrow agreement prepared by the Township Solicitor and approved by the Township Board of Supervisors. The escrow agent for the deposit of such cash or securities shall be located in Palmer Township (Northampton County, Pennsylvania) and shall be approved by the Township Board of Supervisors.
B. 
Improvement bond. The applicant shall assure the township by means of a corporate bond, with surety, or the deposit of cash or securities in escrow sufficient to cover the costs, as estimated by the Township Engineer, of making and maintaining the necessary improvements incidental to the sewage sludge site. The bond shall be furnished under such conditions and form and with such surety as shall be approved by the Township Solicitor to guarantee and secure that all improvements are made and maintained and are paid for by the applicant and that the township shall, in no event, be held liable for the costs of any such improvements. In the event that cash or securities are deposited in lieu of a bond, the said deposit is to be made pursuant to an escrow agreement prepared by the Township Solicitor and approved by the Township Board of Supervisors. The escrow agent for the deposit of such cash or securities shall be located in Palmer Township (Northampton County, Pennsylvania) and shall be approved by the Township Board of Supervisors.
C. 
Indemnification. In addition to the foregoing requirements, all applicants for permits to store or utilize sewage sludge upon property within the township shall, prior to the issuance of any permit for sludge application and/or storage, deliver to the township a liability indemnification agreement with bond for the useful life of the proposed site for five years on a form prepared by the Township Solicitor and approved by the Township Board of Supervisors, pursuant to the terms of which the applicant, individually and with surety on the said bond, specifically agrees to fully indemnify and hold the township harmless and all its officers, agents and employees from any and all liability, expenses or damages whatsoever and all litigation defense costs accruing to any of the same as a result of any use of any land in the township pursuant to a permit issued in accordance with this ordinance. The amount of the indemnification agreement and bond shall be set by the Township Engineer and Township Solicitor and approved by the Township Board of Supervisors and shall be at least equal to the costs of removal and/or cleanup of any sewage sludge site and any engineering or legal fees pertaining thereto plus 15% per year for the useful life of the site, plus five years.
D. 
Liability insurance. The Township Board of Supervisors shall require the applicant to submit to the township an insurance policy covering liability for all and any harm to persons and/or properties resulting from the aforesaid activities of sewage sludge storage, disposal and/or application. Said insurance policy shall be in full force and effect for the entire duration of the above operations and for at least two years following the termination of the said operations. The amount of the said insurance coverage shall be recommended by the Township Solicitor and Township Engineer and shall be approved by the Township Board of Supervisors based on the said recommendations and their judgment as to the potential for such harm or damage.

§ 65-7 Enforcement; violations and penalties.

A. 
This ordinance and any provisions thereof shall be enforceable in any proceedings, whether at law or at equity, and these remedies shall be in addition to the criminal penalties hereinafter set forth.
B. 
The Township Engineer shall be charged with the enforcement of this ordinance. Such authorization notwithstanding, any police officer or a majority of the Township Board of Supervisors shall be able to enforce this ordinance and/or institute proceedings, civilly or criminally, to enforce the provisions of this ordinance.
C. 
If the township officials outlined in the preceding subsection receive information by personal observation or from any reliable source of a violation of any provisions of this ordinance, the aforesaid officials shall be authorized to file a private criminal complaint with the local District Justice to enforce this ordinance. However, any township police officer, while on duty and acting in his official capacity, shall be permitted to file a citation or utilize any other lawful procedure available to him as a law enforcement officer.
D. 
Violations and penalties.
[Amended 10-25-1988 by Ord. No. 227]
(1) 
Any person, association, proprietorship, partnership, corporation (whether for profit or not) or any other entity which violates any provision of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600, plus the costs of prosecution, and, in default thereof, undergo imprisonment for not more than 30 days.
(2) 
Each day of violation of the particular code or ordinance applicable shall be considered a separate offense, for which the fines and penalties stated herein may be imposed on a daily basis.
(3) 
For collection of fines and penalties, see § 1-16E of Chapter 1, General Provisions.
E. 
The owner of the property upon which the sewage sludge is being stored or disposed of, the hauler of the sewage sludge, the applicator of the sewage sludge and/or the lessee or tenant of the premises upon which the sewage sludge is stored or disposed of may be liable, in criminal or civil proceedings as aforesaid, for each and every violation of all or any of the provisions of this ordinance.

§ 65-8 When effective.

This ordinance shall become effective five days after its adoption.

§ 65-9 Severability.

The provisions of this ordinance shall be severable and if any other provision shall be held to be unconstitutional, illegal, invalid or preempted by any law, such a determination made by a court of law and of record shall not affect the validity of any of the remaining provisions of this ordinance.

§ 65-10 Repealer.

All ordinances or parts of ordinances conflicting or inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

§ 65-11 Conflicts with other legislation.

Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed so as to supersede or set aside any lawful requirement, rule or regulation imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources.