Township of Lower Saucon, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Lower Saucon 11-16-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-11. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Construction codes — See Ch. 65.
Earth disturbances — See Ch. 77.
Water — See Ch. 174.
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the "Lower Saucon Township Ground Source Heat Pump Ordinance."
Certain watersheds in Lower Saucon Township provide a source of drinking water for the Borough of Hellertown, the Village of Springtown and for certain private water supply wells in the carbonate geology aquifers. The artificial introduction into the ground of circulating liquids creates a potential source of groundwater contamination or new sinkhole formation, especially if said liquid is circulated under pressure. Lower Saucon Township finds that the installation and use of ground source heat pumps (hereafter GSHP) in the Township are often designed and constructed with piping and/or other facilities that do constitute artificial means by which circulating liquids are introduced into the ground under pressure and, therefore, that such systems are a matter of legitimate concern with respect to issues of public health, safety and welfare and, therefore, the regulation of the installation, use and inspection of same is warranted.
The following words or phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.
DRILLING
All acts necessary for the construction of wells such as drilling, boring, coring, washing, digging, driving or jetting.
GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMP (also shown as GSHP)
Any system of mechanical and electrical facilities designed for the purpose of withdrawing heat from, or discharging heat to the ground, groundwater or surface waters.
PERSON
A corporation, partnership, municipal authority or association, as well as a natural person.
PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER
A person licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to practice as an engineer.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Lower Saucon.
A. 
Applicability. No person shall install, construct, modify, drill, or excavate to facilitate the construction/installation and modification of a GSHP for use as a heating and/or cooling system for any building or structure without first obtaining from the Township a permit allowing for the construction of a GSHP.
B. 
Permit procedure.
(1) 
Where a person proposes to construct, modify, or decommission a GSHP, the person shall make written application to the Township on forms supplied by the Township. The forms shall contain, but not be limited to the following information:
(a) 
Location of property.
(b) 
Property usage.
(c) 
A site sketch showing the following:
[1] 
Location of the GSHP.
[2] 
General percent of slope and direction of surface grades within the limits of the sketch.
[3] 
All structures within 100 feet of the GSHP.
[4] 
All property lines, rights-of-way and easements within 100 feet of the GSHP.
[5] 
Location of any water supply well located within 150 feet of the GSHP.
(d) 
For vertical GSHP, well inventory information including location, surface elevation, name, address and telephone number of the well driller, well diameter and static water level shall be provided to the Township with two copies within seven days of its construction or reconstruction.
(2) 
A permit under the provision of this chapter shall be required prior to any person:
(a) 
Constructing or modifying a GSHP.
(b) 
Drilling or redrilling any vertical GSHP.
(c) 
Decommissioning or abandoning an existing GSHP.
(3) 
Permit application review procedure shall be the same procedures as established for the review and approval or rejection as described in Chapter 65 and Chapter 108[1] of the Code of the Township of Lower Saucon for building and plumbing permit applications.
[1]
Editor's Note: Ch. 108 was superseded 6-16-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-06; see now Ch. 65, Art. I.
No permit shall be issued by the Township to any applicant for a GSHP unless and until said applicant has demonstrated that the following requirements will be met:
A. 
All ground source heat pump systems shall be closed-loop systems. Open-loop GSHP systems shall not be permitted.
(1) 
GSHP systems to be designed and constructed in the Township's Watershed Protection or Carbonate Geology Districts shall be horizontal closed-loop systems. Outside the Watershed Protection or Carbonate Geology Districts, either vertical or horizontal closed-loop GSHP systems may be used.
(2) 
GSHP systems shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (hereafter IGSHPA) Installation Standards, as same may be amended and updated from time to time, and currently found at Section 6.3, References, of the GSHP Manual of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
B. 
The perimeter of the GSHP subsurface loops, vertical or horizontal, shall meet the following minimum isolation requirements:
(1) 
100 feet from any existing or proposed drinking water wells;
(2) 
25 feet from any existing or proposed individual or community on-lot sewage disposal system including any primary or alternate drainfield sites;
(3) 
25 feet from property lines, rights-of-way; and
(4) 
25 feet from existing or proposed structures.
C. 
With respect to the subsurface loop of the GSHP systems:
(1) 
The subsurface loop piping for same must be made of polyethylene or a substitute similar material approved by the Township. All joints shall be sealed by heat fusion or IGSHPA certified process;
(2) 
GSHP systems shall be equipped with an automatic shutdown device to prevent circulating fluids or oil leaks from migrating;
(3) 
Visual and audible alarms shall be installed in the building or structure in the event of a system malfunction or leakage;
(4) 
Warning labels shall be prominently posted near the interior mechanical system; and
(5) 
For closed-loop GSHP systems, only water or a mixture of water and food-grade propylene glycol may be used as the circulating fluid, unless a similarly inert fluid is approved for use by the Township.
D. 
A written plan shall provide for the operation and periodic inspections of the GSHP system proposed by the system designer and approved by the property owner which, among other matters, provides that:
(1) 
Any GSHP system leaks or releases will be reported by the owner to the Township Police Department within two hours of the discovery of same, and the owner shall covenant and agree to take all necessary appropriate action to minimize any fluid release to the ground and to promptly repair any system leaks; and
(2) 
A system closure plan for use in the event of the discontinuance of the use of the GSHP system.
E. 
The installation specifications and drawings for the GSHP system have been submitted to and reviewed by the Township Engineer.
A. 
Vertical closed-loop GSHP systems.
(1) 
GSHP well drilling shall only be undertaken by a Pennsylvania licensed well driller.
(2) 
Wells shall be grouted to protect against degradation or contamination of the groundwater or intermingling of separate aquifers.
(3) 
Grouting shall be mixed, pumped and placed in accordance with the procedures recommended by the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association Publication entitled "Grouting for Vertical Geothermal Heat Pump Systems" (available from Ground Source Heat Pump Publications, Oklahoma University, Stillwater, OK). Acceptable grout materials are as follows:
(a) 
High solids bentonite grout with a minimum of 30% solids (not bentonite gel).
(b) 
A material approved for use by the Township Engineer.
(4) 
Grouting shall be placed in the borehole from the bottom to the top. Grouting shall be pumped into place via a tremie pipe.
B. 
Prior to activation of the system with respect to each vertical GSHP well installation, the Pennsylvania licensed well driller and/or system installer shall provide to the Township Engineer:
(1) 
An accurate written drilling record and a written geologic log; and
(2) 
An accurate record of the grouting used for each such well; and
(3) 
As-built plans and related documentation for each such system and well location; and
(4) 
Written documentation of the GSHP system testing and certification.
A. 
Care shall be taken that no rocks are in contact with piping. In rocky soils, pipe shall be placed in a bed of sand or limestone screenings at the bottom of the trenches.
B. 
Flowable backfill consisting of water, sand and cement may be used to surround the pipe in the trench.
C. 
Metallic pipe location tape shall be placed 12 inches below the ground surface to alert future owners and excavators to the presence and location of the system.
D. 
The depth of the tubing or heat transfer element must be at least 30 inches below the surface of the ground.
A. 
An escrow account in the amount of $500 shall be posted with the Township to cover the cost of plan review and inspection costs. This escrow amount may be amended by resolution of the Township Council.
B. 
Piping shall be flushed and pressure tested before vertical borings are sealed or before horizontal trenches are backfilled. The Township Code Enforcement Officer or his or her designee shall observe pressure testing.
C. 
The Township Code Engineer, or his or her designee, shall observe grouting of the vertical boreholes for the GSHP wells.
D. 
GSHP system installer shall contact the Township Engineer, or his or her designee, a minimum of 24 hours in advance to inspect grouting pond piping and to verify pressure testing.
Fees required pursuant to this chapter shall be fixed from time to time by resolution of the Township Council of Lower Saucon Township, which fees shall relate to permit fees, application costs, etc.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to drill any vertical GSHP well or excavate for any horizontal GSHP or to install or modify any GSHP piping and equipment until a permit pursuant to this chapter has been issued.
B. 
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by action brought before a District Justice in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. Any person who violates or permits the violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense. Each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.