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Springfield targets septic tank neglect


Some 500 households in Springfield Township are in violation of the Act 537 ordinance, which compels residents to have their septic tanks pumped every three years.

Residents who fail to produce a certificate of completion could face a court-imposed fine of $600 per day plus court costs of between $80 to $100.

Reminder notices, costing approximately $1,000, did go out to the first batch of affected residents in December 2017. “People got a year grace period; now we’re going to do something about it,” said Supervisor Chairman Dave Long.

What the board decides to do will become clearer at its March 12 meeting. In an email, Township Manager Mike Brown said that some board members favor another warning notice but others are “okay with just issuing citations to gain compliance.”

In 2017, Brown put forth a number of options to make the ordinance more palatable, which some board members indicated they were amenable to.

These include extending the time frame to five years, thus reducing costs to small households; broadening those who can provide independent verification to an inspector from the Pennsylvania Septic Management Association, a township enforcer, or less intrusive local contractor; or the cheapest option: having owners email a picture as proof of pumping verification.

Opponents of the ordinance have long maintained it doesn’t accommodate those on fixed incomes, and doesn’t address those with minimal sewage output.

In other business, supervisors voted to advertise an ordinance preventing westbound access to Springtown and Springtown Hill roads.

Fed up with damage to their vehicles and concerned for their personal safety, Springtown residents amassed dozens of signatures calling for the change. “Thank you for looking into this,” said Carrie Rice, one of those who pressed for the one-way.

Also at the Feb. 26 meeting, Police Chief Michael McDonald announced that the department would survey every township road in alphabetical order. McDonald noted that some speed limits were posted too low, others too high.

“This is a chance to have current data back up the signage.” The officer told board members he expected the “A to Z” surveys to be completed by the end of 2020, but that he would provide regular updates before then.

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