Township of Plumstead, PA
Bucks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 1]
1. 
This Part shall be known as the "Plumstead Township On-Lot Sewage Disposal System (OLDS) Management Ordinance."
2. 
This Part is adopted pursuant to the authority set forth in the Second Class Township Code, the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 699.1 — 699.101), and the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act of January 24, 1966), P.L. 1535, as amended, 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., also known as "Act 537." This Part is also adopted pursuant to the Sewage Facilities Plan adopted for Plumstead Township pursuant to Act 537.
3. 
This Part is intended to prevent and abate water pollution and the hazards to the public health caused by the improper treatment and disposal of sanitary sewage. This Part is further intended to provide for the inventory and inspection of on-lot sanitary sewage disposal systems within the Township, which said inventory and inspections are designed to provide for the adequate maintenance, management, rehabilitation/replacement and construction of on-lot sewage disposal systems; to permit the Township to intervene in events which are public nuisances or hazards to the public health; and to establish penalties and appeal procedures necessary for the appropriate administration of the Plumstead Township On-Lot Sanitary Sewage Disposal System (OLDS) Management Program.
4. 
All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with this Part are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 2]
1. 
As used in this Part, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACT 537
The Act of January 4, 1966, P.L. 1535, as amended, 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., known as the "Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act."
AUTHORITY
The Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority.
AUTHORIZED AGENT
Any representative of the Township authorized by the Board of Supervisors to carry out the provisions of this Part.
BOARD OF SEWER APPEALS
A Board which may be created by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, who shall be residents of Plumstead Township.
CESSPOOL
A covered pit with open-jointed lining which receives the sanitary sewage or other organic wastes directly from a building drain or building sanitary sewer. It retains and allows liquid waste to pass through the bottom and sides. This is an antiquated system which predates PADEP standards (Chapter 73, Title 25 Pa. Code).
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (CEO)
An individual employed by the Township to administer and enforce ordinances in the Township.
COMMUNITY SANITARY SEWAGE SYSTEM
Any system, whether publicly or privately owned, for the collection of sanitary sewage from two or more lots or structures and the treatment and/or disposal of the sewage on one or more lots or at any other site.
EVIDENCE OF MALFUNCTION
Wet, murky conditions (not resulting from surface water runoff or ponding) in areas designated as the absorption area of an OLDS. These conditions are typically accompanied by high grass and/or increased growth in warm, dry months. In the winter, these areas generally do not freeze, and the area is typically spongy and soft. Snow does not normally accumulate in these areas. Information received from property owners concerning frequent septic tank pumping or difficulty in pumping a septic tank due to backflow from the absorption area is also evidence of malfunction. Other factors considered as evidence of malfunctions are indications of previous repairs and/or extensions of the system not permitted by the Bucks County Health Department and/or evidence of recently placed soil and/or dirt in the vicinity where the absorption area is located. The installation of a garden, shrubs and/or trees in the vicinity of the absorption areas, as well as the inability to distinguish "gray water" discharge, is also evidence of a malfunction.
GRAY WATER
Domestically generated liquid wastes, including kitchen and laundry wastes.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT
The Bucks County Health Department (BCHD).
HOLDING TANK
A watertight receptacle that receives and retains sewage and is designed and constructed to facilitate ultimate disposal of the sewage at another site.
MAINTENANCE
Those actions required to provide for the long-term proper functioning of an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system, including but not limited to the pumping of septage from a septic tank, cesspool or dry well and pump tank, cleaning, pumping and/or leveling of a distribution box, removal of trees or growth affecting the operation of an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system, diversion of surface water from an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system and reduction of flow from the structure being served (i.e., installation of water conservation devices).
MALFUNCTION
The condition which occurs when an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system discharges untreated or inadequately treated sewage onto the surface of the ground, into groundwater or into surface waters of the Commonwealth. Malfunction also occurs when sanitary sewage backs up into the building connected to the system or otherwise causes a nuisance or hazard to the public health or pollution of the ground- or surface water or contamination of any public and/or private drinking water wells.
MUNICIPALITY
Plumstead Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
NEW SYSTEM
The installation of an on-lot sewage disposal system on a property where a system does not currently exist, or the installation of a larger on-lot sewage disposal system in conjunction with the expanded use of an existing structure after the effective date of this Part. A new system does not include replacement systems installed on properties with existing on-lot sewage disposal systems where rehabilitation/repair efforts are required to correct an existing malfunction.
OFFICIAL SEWAGE FACILITIES ACT 537 PLAN
The plan adopted by the Township and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in furtherance of the requirements as set forth in the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act.
ON-LOT SANITARY SEWAGE DISPOSAL SYSTEM (OLDS)
Any system for disposal of sanitary sewage involving pretreatment and subsequent disposal of the clarified sewage into the soil for final treatment and disposal, including both individual sanitary sewage systems and community sanitary sewage systems.
PADEP
The Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
PERSON
Any individual, company, association, public or private corporation for profit or not for profit, partnership, firm, trust, estate, department, board, bureau or agency of the Commonwealth, political subdivision, municipality, district, authority or any other legal entity whatsoever which is recognized by law as having rights and duties. Whenever used in any clause prescribing and imposing a penalty or imposing a fine, the term "person" shall include the members of an association, partnership or firm and the officers of any local agency or municipal, public or private corporation for profit or not for profit.
PUMPER/HAULER
Any person, as that term is defined in this Part, who engages in cleaning community or individual sanitary sewage systems and transports the septage removed from these systems for disposal and is licensed by the Bucks County Health Department.
PUMPER'S REPORT
The form used by licensed pumper/haulers to report pumping of an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system.
REGISTRATION FORM
The form which shall be made available by the Township for property owners to register their on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system with the Township.
REHABILITATION or REPAIR
Work done to modify, alter or repair an existing on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system or individual components thereof, including the enlargement of the total absorption areas, provided that the flows from the structure being served are unchanged or reduced.
REPLACEMENT AREA
A portion of a lot or property, sized to allow the installation of a subsurface sanitary sewage disposal area, which is reserved to allow for the installation of a replacement sanitary sewage system in the event of the malfunction of the originally installed on-lot sewage disposal system.
SEPTAGE
The residual scum and sludge pumped from septic systems.
SEWAGE
Any substance that contains any of the waste products or excrement or other discharge from the bodies of human beings or animals, and any noxious or deleterious substance being harmful or inimical to the public health, or to animal or aquatic life, or to the use of water for domestic water supply, or for recreation, or which constitutes pollution under the Act of June 22, 1937 (P.L. 1987, No. 394), known as the "Clean Streams Law," as amended.
SEWAGE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (SEO)
A person certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection who issues and reviews permit applications and/or conducts such investigations and inspections as are necessary to implement the Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537) and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder and this Part or any other ordinance adopted by the Township.
SEWAGE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
A comprehensive set of legal and administrative requirements encompassing the requirements of this Part and other administrative requirements adopted by the Township to effectively enforce and administer this Part.
SUBDIVISION
The definition of subdivision shall be the definition as set forth in the Plumstead Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance [Chapter 22].
TOWNSHIP
Plumstead Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
WATERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
All streams, lakes, ponds, marshes, watercourses, waterways, wells, springs, reservoirs, aquifers, irrigation systems, drainage systems and all other bodies or accumulations of water, surface or underground, natural or artificial, public or private, which are contained within, flow through or border upon the State or any portion thereof, and as defined by the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act.
ZONING OFFICER
An individual employed by the Township to administer and enforce the Township Zoning Ordinance [Chapter 27].
2. 
All definitions included in Act 537 and the Clean Streams Act, as amended, are hereby incorporated by reference into this Part.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 3]
1. 
The provisions of this Part shall apply to all on-lot sewage disposal systems proposed within the Township after the effective date of this Part.
2. 
All new systems shall be required to file a registration form with the Township prior to the issuance of a use and occupancy permit for the use of the structure being served by the on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 4]
1. 
No person shall install, rehabilitate, construct or solicit proposals for the construction or alteration of an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system, or construct or request proposals for the construction, installation or occupancy of any building or structure for which an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system is to be installed, without first obtaining a permit from the BCHD confirming that the system complies with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act and any and all regulations adopted pursuant to said Act.
2. 
No system or structure designed for on-lot sanitary sewage disposal or for a rehabilitation, repair and/or replacement to or of an existing on-lot sewage disposal system shall be covered from view until a final inspection and approval of same has been provided by the BCHD.
3. 
Applicants for on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system permits shall notify the BCHD of the schedule for construction or rehabilitation, repair and/or replacement of the permitted on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system so the appropriate inspection(s) shall be scheduled and performed by the BCHD.
4. 
No building permit shall be issued by the Township for a new building which will utilize an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system until such time as a valid sanitary sewer permit has been obtained from the BCHD and a registration form is filed with the Township.
5. 
No building permit shall be issued by the Township for any building addition, alteration or change in use which may result in increased sewage flows until approval of use of the existing sewage system has been received from the BCHD. The Township should be notified by the BCHD of all permits issued and final inspections performed in Plumstead Township.
6. 
No occupancy permit shall be issued by the Township for any new building until the BCHD has informed the Township that the newly constructed sanitary sewage system has been completed and has had a final inspection.
7. 
On-lot sewage disposal system permits may only be issued by the BCHD.
8. 
No contractor shall install, construct, rehabilitate or alter an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system without verifying that the property owner has complied with the provisions of this Part.
9. 
All new systems shall be inspected and pumped out by a licensed pumper/hauler selected by the property owner at least once every three years or whenever inspection reveals that the treatment tanks are filled with solids in excess of 1/3 of the liquid depth of the tank or with scum in excess of 1/3 of the liquid depth of the tank. The three-year time period shall begin when the system is approved as complete by the BCHD. The property owner shall provide the Township with a receipt documenting the date on which the septic tank was cleaned within 30 days of the occurrence.
10. 
All structures served by new systems shall be required to install water conservation devices and fixtures in compliance with the provisions of the Plumstead Township Water Conservation Ordinance [Chapter 26].
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 5]
1. 
Authorized persons acting on behalf of the Township shall, upon presentation of the proper credentials and identification, be permitted to enter upon the outside of the property that contains an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system for the purpose of inspecting, observing, photographing and sampling the on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system or alternate system, in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
2. 
The Township shall provide advance notice to the property owner of the on-lot sewage disposal system and/or alternative system prior to inspection.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 6]
1. 
All on-lot sanitary sewage disposal systems regulated by this Part may be inspected by an authorized agent of the Township. The inspection may include the taking of samples from surface water, wells or other groundwater sources and/or the sampling of the contents of the sanitary sewage disposal system. The report of the inspection shall be furnished to the property owner.
2. 
In the event that inspection is denied by the property owner, the Township shall be authorized to take such steps as are appropriate to secure access to the property for the purpose of determining compliance with the terms and conditions of this Part. Said steps shall include but not be limited to the seeking of an administrative search warrant from the appropriate judicial official.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 7]
1. 
No property owner shall operate and maintain an on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system in such a manner that it malfunctions. No system shall discharge untreated or partially treated sanitary sewage to the surface of the ground or into the waters of the Commonwealth, as defined herein.
2. 
Sewage which contains any of the following shall not be discharged into any on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system:
A. 
Industrial waste.
B. 
Automobile oil and other nondomestic oil.
C. 
Following or during pumping backflow from the absorption area.
D. 
When possible, inflow from building(s) served, to verify connection to the building(s).
E. 
Surface discharge, ponding or other signs of malfunction in the vicinity of the absorption area.
3. 
All owners of on-lot sanitary sewage systems with gray water discharges to the ground surface shall correct such discharges and route the gray water into the treatment tank (i.e., septic tank or, if applicable, cesspool or dry well). All rerouting and connections of gray water discharge to the on-lot sanitary sewage disposal system shall be in accordance with requirements of the BCHD. Gray water discharges are a violation of § 73.11 of the Pennsylvania Code, Title 25, Environmental Protection, and may also be a violation of §§ 202 and 207 of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, if the discharge is to any waters of the Commonwealth (as defined herein). All violations shall be referred to the BCHD.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 8]
1. 
If the BCHD determines that any on-lot sewage disposal system is malfunctioning and, further, if the property abuts or fronts an existing public sewer, then the BCHD shall require that the property be connected to said public sewer, at the property owner's sole cost and expense. Under those circumstances, the BCHD will not issue a permit for the repair of a malfunctioning on-lot sewage disposal system.
2. 
If any on-lot sewage disposal system is observed to be malfunctioning, the Township will notify the BCHD. The Township should be notified by the Health Department of all permits issued and final inspections performed.
3. 
Should the BCHD indicate that it is not possible to repair or modify the system to comply with PADEP's standards for on-lot sewage disposal systems, then the property owner shall be required to have a replacement on-lot sewage disposal system designed for the property. Said design shall conform to current regulations as promulgated by the PADEP.
4. 
The BCHD may require the repairs/rehabilitation/replacement of any malfunction by the following methods:
A. 
Cleaning.
B. 
Repair or replacement of components of the existing system.
C. 
Adding capacity or otherwise altering or replacing the system's treatment tank.
D. 
Expanding the existing disposal area.
E. 
Replacing the existing disposal area.
F. 
Replacing a gravity distribution system with a pressurized system.
G. 
Such other alternatives as appropriate for the specific site, including use of reservation areas.
5. 
In lieu of, or in combination with, the remedies delineated by the BCHD, the Township may require installation of water conservation equipment and the institution of water conservation practices in structures served. Water-using devices and appliances in the structure may be required to be retrofitted with water-saving appurtenances, or they may be required to be replaced by water-conserving devices and appliances.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 9]
1. 
The Township, upon written notice from the BCHD that an imminent health hazard exists, due to failure of a property owner to maintain, repair/rehabilitate or replace any new system, as regulated under the terms of this Part, shall have the authority to perform or contract to have performed the work required by the BCHD. The property owner shall be charged for the work performed; and, if necessary, a lien shall be recorded in accordance with law.
2. 
The Township shall not, however, be obligated to perform or contract to have performed any work required to maintain, repair, rehabilitate or replace any on-lot sanitary sewage system.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 10]
1. 
All septage pumper/haulers operating within the Township shall be licensed by the BCHD.
2. 
All septage originating within the Township shall be disposed of at sites or facilities approved by PADEP.
3. 
The septage secured by pumpers/haulers operating within the Township shall be handled consistent with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act (Act 97 of 1980, 35 P.S. §§ 6018.101 — 6018.1003), and regulations adopted pursuant to such Act.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 11]
1. 
The Township shall be authorized to exercise the powers conferred upon it pursuant to the terms and conditions of this Part or any other applicable laws of the County, State and Federal governments.
2. 
The Township Board of Supervisors may establish a fee, by resolution, the purpose of which is to defray the cost of the inspections and other aspects of the on-lot sanitary sewage management plan as set forth in this Part.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 12]
1. 
Any property owner aggrieved by the written decision of a Township employee or other authorized agent of the Township pursuant to this Part may appeal said decision by written notification to the Board of Supervisors, provided that said appeal notification shall be filed within 30 days from the date of the decision at issue.
2. 
The property owner and/or person filing said appeal shall be entitled to a hearing before the Board of Supervisors, or its designee, within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. Either party, by good cause shown, may extend the time for a hearing, but said decision shall be left to the discretion of the Board of Supervisors, or its designee. A hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Local Agency Act, and a decision shall be rendered, in writing, within 45 days following the conclusion of the hearing and all proceedings related thereto. If the Board of Supervisors or its designee shall fail to render a decision within 45 days following the conclusion of all proceedings related to the hearing, then the relief sought by the property owner and/or person filing the appeal shall be deemed granted. Any property owner and/or person aggrieved by a decision of the Board of Supervisors or its designee may, within 30 days after such decision of the Board, file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.
[Ord. 2002-17, -/-/2002, § 13; as amended by Ord. 2004-07, 12/7/2004, § 1]
1. 
Any person, firm, corporation or property owner who shall violate any provision of this Part, upon conviction thereof in an action brought before a District Justice in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 90 days. Each day that a violation of this Part continues or each Section of this Part which shall be found to have been violated shall constitute a separate offense. All judgments, costs and reasonable attorney's fees collected for the violation of this Part shall be paid over to the Township.
2. 
In addition to the rights as set forth in this Section, the Township may take such other rights as are available to it to enforce the provisions of this Part, including resort to the courts of equity to seek compliance with the provisions of this Part.