[Adopted 10-3-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-7]
This article shall be known and may be cited as "An Ordinance Providing for an On-Lot Sewage Management Program for Warwick Township."
In accordance with municipal codes, the Clean Streams Law (act of June 27, 1937, P.L. 1987, No. 394, as amended, 35 P.S. §§ 691.1 to 691.1001), and the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (act of January 24, 1966, P.L. 1535, as amended, 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., known as "Act 537"), it is the power and the duty of Warwick Township to provide for adequate sewage treatment and disposal facilities and for the protection of the public health by preventing the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage. The Official Sewage Facilities Plan for Warwick Township indicates that it is necessary to formulate and implement a sewage management program to effectively prevent and abate water pollution and hazards to the public health caused by improper treatment and disposal of sewage.
The purpose of this article is to provide for the regulation, inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation of on-lot sewage disposal systems; to further allow intervention in situations which may constitute a public nuisance or hazard to the public health; and to establish penalties and appeal procedures necessary for the proper administration of a sewage management program.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACT 537
- The act of January 24, 1966, P.L. 1535, as amended, 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., known as the "Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act."
- AUTHORIZED AGENT
- A person with demonstrated knowledge and experience regarding on-lot sewage disposal system design, operation, and maintenance who is authorized by the Warwick Township Board of Supervisors to carry out the provisions of this article. An authorized agent must be a certified sewage enforcement officer.
- The Board of Supervisors, Warwick Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
- COMMUNITY ON-LOT SEWAGE SYSTEM
- A sewage system which serves two or more lots, or two or more equivalent dwelling units, and uses a system of piping, tanks, or other facilities for collecting, treating, and disposing of sewage into a soil absorption area, retaining tank, or cesspool.
- The Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (DEP).
- INDIVIDUAL ON-LOT SEWAGE SYSTEM
- A sewage system which serves a single lot and a single equivalent dwelling unit and uses a system of piping, tanks, or other facilities for collecting, treating, and disposing of sewage into a soil absorption area, spray field, retaining tank, or cesspool.
- INDIVIDUAL RESIDENTIAL SPRAY IRRIGATION SYSTEM (IRSIS)
- An individual sewage system which serves a single dwelling and which treats and disposes of sewage through using a system of piping, treatment tanks, and soil renovation through spray irrigation.
- INITIAL TREATMENT UNIT
- A term used to describe the on-lot disposal system receiving unit to which sewage is delivered from a sewage generating facility. The term includes but is not limited to septic tanks, aerobic treatment units, and cesspools.
- LIQUID WASTE
- Septage pumped from septic tanks, cesspools, holding tanks, privies, or chemical toilets which does not include any toxic, industrial, or hazardous wastes.
- LIQUID WASTE HAULER
- Any person engaged in the business of pumping and transporting liquid waste within Bucks County. Each vehicle used for such purpose shall be licensed by the Bucks County Health Department and shall also be registered with Warwick Township. Haulers are required to complete an inspection form every time they service an on-lot system in Warwick Township. Haulers will be provided with an inspection form upon registration with Warwick Township.
- A parcel of land, used or set aside and available for use as the site of one or more buildings and any building accessory thereto or for any other purpose, in one ownership and not divided by a street, nor including any land within the right-of-way of a public street upon which said lot abuts, even if the ownership to such right-of-way is in the owner of the lot. A "lot," for the purpose of this article may or may not coincide with a lot of record. A lot shall front on a public street.
- MAINTENANCE CONTRACTOR
- A private independent contractor who has been given training by the original equipment manufacturer of applicable sewage system components, has been authorized by the manufacturer to service said components, or has demonstrated technical expertise in the field of on-lot sewage system maintenance.
- A condition which occurs when an on-lot sewage disposal system discharges sewage onto the surface of the ground, into groundwaters of this Commonwealth, or into surface waters of this commonwealth or in any manner causes a nuisance or hazard to the public health or pollution of groundwater or surface water or contamination of public or private drinking water wells.
- OFFICIAL SEWAGE FACILITIES ACT 537 PLAN
- A comprehensive plan for the provision of adequate sewage disposal systems, adopted by the Board and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act.
- ON-LOT SEWAGE DISPOSAL SYSTEM
- Any community on-lot sewage system or individual on-lot sewage system, as defined herein.
- An individual or an unincorporated organization, partnership, association, corporation, trust or estate.
- Work done to modify, alter, repair, enlarge or replace an existing on-lot sewage disposal system.
- RETAINING TANK
- A watertight receptacle that receives and retains sewage and is designed and constructed to facilitate the ultimate disposal of the sewage at another site. This term is synomomous with the term "holding tank."
- The residual scum, sludge, and other materials pumped from, but not limited to, initial treatment units, other treatment tanks, retaining tanks, pump tanks, and the systems they serve.
- 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 substances 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 Pa. DEP under Pa. Code Title 25, Chapter 72, Subchapter D.
- SEWAGE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
- Any area or areas of the Township adopted by the Board as an area for which a sewage management program is to be implemented.
- SEWAGE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
- A comprehensive set of legal and administrative requirements encompassing the requirements of this article, the Sewage Facilities Act, the Clean Streams Law, the regulations promulgated thereunder and such other requirements adopted by the Board to effectively enforce and administer this article.
- The division or redivision of a lot, tract or parcel of land by any means into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land, including changes in existing lot lines for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of lease, partition by the court for distribution to heirs or divisees, transfer of ownership or building lot development.
- The Township of Warwick, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
For the purposes of this article, any term which is not defined herein shall have that meaning attributed to it under the Sewage Facilities Act and regulations promulgated thereto.
From the effective date of this article, its provisions shall apply to all portions of the Township served by on-lot sewage disposal systems. The implementation of the provisions shall be in accordance with the following time periods for the areas indicated on the most recent version of the Sewage Management Districts Map:
Within such an area or areas, the provisions of this article shall apply to all persons owning any property serviced by an on-lot sewage disposal system and to all persons installing or rehabilitating on-lot sewage disposal systems. Beginning with District I and the remaining schedule defined above, and within 90 days of written notification by Warwick Township or its authorized agent, all persons with an on-lot sewage disposal system shall be required to register with Warwick Township and complete the required registration form and submit it to Warwick Township. The Township may establish a fee for registration of on-lot sewage disposal systems.
No building permit shall be issued for a new building which will utilize an on-lot sewage disposal system until Act 537 planning approval has been issued by the Department and the appropriate on-lot sewage disposal system permit has been issued by the Bucks County Health Department SEO. Proof of on-lot sewage disposal system permit issuance shall be presented to the Township in the form of a properly executed permit signed by the Bucks County Health Department SEO.
No occupancy permit shall be issued for a new building which will utilize an on-lot sewage disposal system until the sewage disposal system has been installed and the completed installation is approved by the Bucks County Health Department SEO. Proof of on-lot sewage disposal system final installation approval shall be presented to the Township in the form of a properly executed permit signed by the Bucks County Health Department SEO.
No building or occupancy permit shall be issued and no work shall begin on any alteration or conversion of any existing structure, if said alteration or conversion will result in the increase or potential increase in sewage flows from the structure, until either the structure's owner receives a permit from the Bucks County Health Department SEO for alteration or replacement of the existing sewage disposal system or until the structure's owner and the appropriate officials of the Township receive written notification from the Bucks County Health Department SEO that such a permit will not be required. The Bucks County Health Department SEO shall determine whether the proposed alteration or conversion of the structure will result in increased sewage flows.
Sewage permits may be issued only by a Sewage Enforcement Officer employed by the Bucks County Health Department per the requirements of Pa. Code Title 25, Chapter 72.
Any on-lot sewage disposal system may be inspected by the Township or its authorized agent at any reasonable time as of the effective date of this article.
Such inspection may include a physical tour of the property and examination of any or all on-lot sewage disposal system components for the purpose of identifying maintenance needs and functional status.
An authorized agent, with the approval of the Township, and with proper legal authority, shall have the right to enter upon land for the purposes of inspections described in this section.
In accordance with the requirements of Pa. Code, Title 25, Chapter 73, Standards for On-Lot Sewage Treatment Facilities, only normal domestic wastes, including kitchen, bathroom, and laundry wastes and water softner backwash water, shall be discharged to any on-lot sewage disposal system. Examples of the types of wastes that may harm or increase the need for pumping or repair of an on-lot sewage disposal system include, but are not limited to, the following, which are prohibited from being discharged to any on-lot sewage disposal system:
Automobile oil and other nondomestic oil.
Toxic or hazardous substances or chemicals, including but not limited to pesticides, disinfectants (excluding household cleaners), acids, paints, paint thinners, herbicides, gasoline and other solvents.
Clean surface water or groundwater, including water from roof or cellar drains, springs, basement sump pumps and french drains.
Wastewater resulting from hair treatment at beauty shops.
Any nonbiodegradable materials.
All new construction must comply with the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) requirements for water-conserving plumbing fixtures and fittings. The Township may require the installation of water-conserving devices, consistent with the UCC, and other operation and/or maintenance procedures to improve the performance of on-lot; sewage disposal systems.
Beginning with District I, as defined in § 153-15, each person owning a building served by an on-lot sewage disposal system shall have the initial treatment unit pumped within one year of the effective date of this article by a Bucks County Health Department and Township registered liquid waste hauler. Thereafter, that person shall have the system pumped at least once every three years or whenever an inspection reveals that the initial treatment unit is filled with solids or with scum in excess of 1/3 of the liquid depth. Liquid waste haulers are required to complete, on a standard form prepared by Warwick Township, the results of a visual inspection pursuant to Subsection C(8) of this section. These forms may be utilized by the Township to document all pumping and maintenance requirements and remedies described herein. Copies of the form shall be provided to the owner by the licensed liquid waste hauler.
The required pumping frequency may be modified at the discretion of the Township if the initial treatment unit is undersized, if an inspection reveals solids or scum in excess of 1/3 of the liquid depth of the tank, if the hydraulic load on the system increases significantly above average, if a garbage grinder is used in the building, if the system malfunctions or for other good cause shown. If any person can prove that such person's tank had been pumped within one year of the effective date of this article, then that person's initial required pumping may be delayed to conform to the general three-year frequency requirement, except where an inspection reveals a need for shorter pumping intervals.
All on-lot sewage disposal system pumping shall be performed in accordance with Bucks County Health Department regulations and shall also conform to the following minimum standards, unless other standards are specified by an equipment manufacturer:
At all times, the pumper truck operator's personal safety, as well as protection of the environment and the landowner's property, shall receive the highest priority.
Tanks shall only be pumped from or through the manhole or access port (i.e., the largest tank opening).
Tanks shall not be pumped from or through the observation or inspection port.
When necessary to break up solids, backwashing with clean water or material of a similar nature already on board the pumper truck may be employed. Mechanical means (scraping, raking, etc.) are not necessary but may be employed, provided that appropriate safeguards are taken to prevent injury.
When backwashing, care shall be taken not to fill or refill the tank to a level greater than 12 inches below the elevation of the outlet pipe.
No liquids or solids are to be discharged into or through the outlet pipe.
Tanks shall be deemed to be cleaned when all organic solids are removed and the total average liquid depth remaining in the tank is less than one inch.
Every pumping shall include a visual inspection by the maintenance contractor or liquid waste hauler to determine the presence and condition of treatment tank baffles, the physical condition of the treatment tank, and the absorption field, as applicable. It shall be the responsibility of each resident to submit this form to Warwick Township within 30 days of the inspection.
At all times, and in all phases of operations, the maintenance contractor shall comply with all laws and regulations regarding the activities associated with on-lot sewage disposal system maintenance and disposal of materials removed therefrom.
Any person owning a building served by an on-lot sewage disposal system which contains an aerobic treatment tank shall follow the operation and maintenance recommendations of the equipment manufacturer. A copy of the manufacturer's recommendations and a copy of the service agreement shall be submitted to the Township within six months of the effective date of this article. Thereafter, service receipts shall be submitted to the Township at the intervals specified by the manufacturer's recommendations or by agreement.
Any person owning a building served by an on-lot sewage disposal system which utilizes any components or technologies deemed by DEP to require more-detailed operation and maintenance requirements than provided for in this article, including but not limited to individual residential spray irrigation systems (IRSIS), alternate systems, or experimental systems, shall be further subject to the maintenance responsibilities recommended by DEP for said system. These responsibilities shall be memorialized in individual operation and maintenance agreements for each such use, to which both the Township and the property owner shall be party. The Township may impose additional requirements as deemed necessary, including but not limited to collection of an annual fee and additional financial security.
Surface contouring shall be required as necessary to direct surface water and drainageways away from all components of on-lot sewage disposal systems.
Additional maintenance activity may be required as needed, including but not limited to providing reasonable access to the initial treatment unit, cleaning and unclogging of piping, servicing and the repair of mechanical and electrical equipment, leveling of distribution boxes, tanks and lines, removal of obstructing roots or trees, etc.
No person shall operate or maintain an on-lot sewage disposal system in such a manner that it malfunctions. Any person owning a building served by an on-lot sewage disposal system determined to be in a state of malfunction by the Township's authorized agent or the Bucks County Health Department SEO shall, after authorization of the Township, perform all corrective measures required by the authorized agent or Bucks County Health Department SEO to abate the malfunction. The authorized agent, with authorization of the Township, or Bucks County Health Department SEO shall have the authority to require abatement of any malfunction by the following methods: cleaning, repair or replacement of components of the existing system, adding capacity or otherwise altering or replacing the system's initial treatment unit, expanding the existing disposal areas, replacing the existing disposal area, replacing the system with a retaining tank, frequent pumping, or any other alternative appropriate for the specific site.
In lieu of or in combination with the remedies described in this section, the Bucks County Health Department's Sewage Enforcement Officer and/or the Township may require the 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.
Should none of the remedies described in this section be totally effective in eliminating the malfunction of an existing on-lot sewage disposal system, the property owner is not absolved of responsibility for that malfunction. The authorized agent, with authorization of the Township or the Bucks County Health Department, may require whatever action is necessary to lessen or mitigate the malfunction to the extent necessary.
There may arise geographic areas where numerous on-lot sewage disposal systems are known or are suspected to be malfunctioning. A resolution of these area-wide problems may necessitate detailed planning and a revision to the portion of the sewage facilities plan pertaining to areas affected by such malfunctions. When a DEP authorized official sewage facilities plan revision has been undertaken, mandatory repair or replacement of individual malfunctioning sewage disposal systems within the area affected by the revision may be delayed, pending the outcome of the plan revision process. However, immediate corrective action may be compelled whenever a malfunction, as determined by the Bucks County Health Department, Department, or authorized agent, represents a serious public health or environmental threat.
Retaining tanks shall only be utilized as needed to remedy a malfunctioning on-lot sewage disposal system when it has been determined by the Bucks County Health Department SEO and the Township that no other remedy is viable.
Retaining tank installation and use shall be subject to all the requirements of Pa. Code Title 25, Chapter 71.63 (relating to retaining tanks) and the requirements of the Bucks County Health Department and Warwick Township Ordinance 91-7.
Any person owning a building served by a retaining tank shall annually provide to the Township a copy of a maintenance contract with an authorized maintenance contractor. For the purposes of this section, a maintenance contractor shall be a Bucks County Health Department licensed liquid waste hauler. The contract shall provide for regular removal of the retaining tank contents in accordance with this section and with a frequency sufficient to prevent the contents from overflowing on the ground surface and shall further specify the Bucks County Health Department license number of the maintenance contractor.
The Township, upon written notice from an authorized agent or from the Bucks County Health Department's Sewage Enforcement Officer that an imminent health hazard exists due to failure of property owner to maintain an on-lot sewage disposal system as provided under the terms of this article, shall have the authority to perform, or contract to have performed, the work required by the authorized agent or the Bucks County Health Department's Sewage Enforcement Officer. The owner shall be charged for the work performed and, if necessary, a lien shall be entered therefor in accordance with law.
All septage originating within the Sewage Management District shall be disposed of in accordance with the requirements of the Solid Waste Management Act (Act 97 of 1980, 35 P.S. § 6018.101 et seq.) and all other applicable laws and at sites or facilities approved by DEP.
Liquid waste haulers operating within the Sewage Management District shall operate in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act (Act 97 of 1980, 35 P.S. §§ 6018.101-6018.1003), all other applicable laws, and Bucks County Health Department regulations.
The Township shall fully utilize those powers it possesses through enabling statutes and ordinances to effect the purposes of this article.
The Township shall employ qualified individuals to carry out the provisions of this article. Those employees may include an authorized agent and may include an administrator and such other persons as may be necessary. The Township may also contract with private qualified persons or firms as necessary to carry out the provisions of this article.
All records, reports, files and other written materials relating to the inspection, operation and maintenance of on-lot sewage disposal systems in the Sewage Management District shall become the property of, and be maintained by the Township.
The Board or authorized agent, following authorization of the Board of Supervisors, shall establish all administrative procedures necessary to properly carry out the provisions of this article.
The Board or authorized agent may establish a fee schedule, and authorize the collection of fees, to cover the cost to the Township of administering this article, consistent with the local municipal code.
Appeals from final decisions of the Township, including decisions of its authorized agents, under this article shall be made to the Board of Supervisors in writing within 30 days from the date of written notification of the decision in question.
The appellant shall be entitled to a hearing before the Board of Supervisors at its next regularly scheduled meeting, if a written appeal is received at least 14 days prior to that meeting. If the appeal is received within 14 days of the next regularly scheduled meeting, the appeal shall be heard at the next regularly scheduled meeting. The municipality shall thereafter affirm, modify, or reverse the aforesaid decision. The hearing may be postponed for a good cause shown by the appellant or the Township. Additional evidence may be introduced at the hearing provided that it is submitted with the written notice of appeal.
A decision shall be rendered in writing within 30 days of the date of the hearing.
Hearings under this subsection shall be conducted pursuant to the act of December 2, 1968 (P.L. 1133, No. 353) known as the "Pennsylvania Local Agency Act".
In addition to a proceeding under any other remedy available to the Township at law or in equity for a violation of any provision of this article or any rule or regulation promulgated under this article or any order or permit issued by the Township pursuant to this article, the Township, after notices and hearing, may assess a civil penalty of not less than $300 against any person for that violation. All proceedings by the Township to impose civil penalties pursuant to this section shall be governed in all respects by the provisions of Section 13.1 of Act 537 (35 P.S. § 750.13a), which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.