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Springfield to crack down on septic system offenders


Springfield residents who are past the three-year septic pumping deadline will have 60 days to comply with the township’s Act 537 ordinance.

Township Manager Mike Brown, who stressed that the township wanted compliance rather than punishment, said residents would be issued a notice of violation in early April. According to Brown, of those who remain non-compliant, 30 would be chosen randomly from different sectors of the township to receive citations.

“They are apt to talk to neighbors, complain bitterly. But this will prompt everyone to get compliant.”

Supervisors backed the move. “We did provide a lot of leniency,” said Chairman Dave Long. We have to follow our ordinance and enforce this.”

Approximately 650 households are in violation, according to the township. Those who fail to comply face a $600 daily fine plus court costs.

Looking ahead, Supervisor Tony Matzura asked whether the township would make any exceptions because of wintry weather. Brown replied people could get their tanks pumped prior to the expiration dates but conceded the township would not issue citations until snow melts.

The township also addressed complaints that the three-year pumping deadline doesn’t take into account household size. Supervisors Robert Zisko and Karen Bedics agreed that the township needed to be more flexible on the matter and extend the time frame for smaller households, and that a census was the best way to oversee that.

“They can turn in a census with an affidavit saying the number of people here,” suggested Bedics. Brown agreed work on the matter and send a recommendation to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Resident Gary Atherholt said an individual could go seven years without having to pump. “You’re just putting more burdens on senior citizens, and we got a lot of senior citizens.”

Also at the March 12 meeting, board members unanimously requested a PennDOT structural study of Richlandtown Pike and Route 212.

Supervisor Bedics, who proposed the motion, said she wanted to make the state aware of the damage to the Pike from passing tractor-trailers, many of which use the route as a shortcut to Interstate 78. “In some spots it’s going to collapse some day,” she noted.

Township Manager Brown observed that enforcement on that road would be an issue because there were currently few safe places along the route to pull over trucks for safety inspections or violations, and additional spaces would require permission from landowners or, if necessary, eminent domain.

The township has been in favor of truck restrictions, but its counterparts in Richland Township are resistant to the idea, pointing to numerous signs and company-supplied maps that direct drivers north to Route 309.