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Springfield to revise ordinance for septic system management


Springfield is suggesting changes to its controversial septic management ordinance.

The Act 537 ordinance required residents to get their septic tanks pumped once every three years regardless of how many people were in the household, a requirement that drew criticism from the public and some supervisors, who voted last week to advertise an amended ordinance.

Under the revised measure, pumping times would be extended provided residents meet certain criteria. Tanks must still have been pumped at least once since January 2015, but residents who have a 1,000 gallon tank in good repair and not more than two in the household would be allowed to pump every five years. Those whose homes are vacant for a time period, or not in use because of flooding or a fire can also get their pumping times extended depending on how long the residence was unoccupied.

Residents would be required to sign an affidavit, available on the township website, stating that they qualify.

“This doesn’t let anyone off the hook for initial pumping,” warned township Manager Mike Brown.

Earlier this year, about 650 households were found in violation of the ordinance; most complied after notices of violation were sent out in April. In July, Brown reported to the board that he filed citations against 20 violators randomly selected from different areas; nine of those subsequently got their tanks pumped. “It supplied the necessary motivation,” he said of the legal action.

Passage of the amended ordinance could come as early as October, the meeting was told.

In other business, the police department reported it was up to letter H in its alphabetical road review. Eventually, an ordinance will spell out the appropriate signage and speed limits for every route in the township.

Supervisors also discussed regulating short-term rentals, made popular by sites such as Airbnb and Board members favored requiring operators to obtain licenses, and maintained that any rentals must be on the operator’s property.

Members discussed absentee landlords, and concluded that if an operator were absent, he or she would have to designate a point of contact should any complaints arise. Supervisors agreed to continue the discussion at a later date.