on-lot Sewage disposal systems
If you live in a rural area, your home is most likely not connected to the Townships' central sewer system. On-lot wastewater treatment may be the only means of disposing the wastewater flowing from toilets, showers and sinks within your household. About 260 homes in East Pennsboro Township rely on on-lot wastewater systems, commonly called septic systems, for the proper treatment and disposal of household wastewater. An on-lot wastewater system is a three-stage treatment system usually consisting of:
- A treatment tank (usually a septic tank),
- a distribution system (the pipes),
- and a soil absorption area
Further information can be found at PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) - Onlot Disposal System.
ACT 537 SEWAGE FACILITIES PROGRAM
As mandated by the municipal codes, the Clean Streams Law, 35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, 35 P.S. § 7501 et seq., municipalities have the power and the duty to provide for adequate sewage treatment 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 East Pennsboro Township has evaluated the need to implement an on-lot management program to effectively prevent potential water pollution and hazards to the public health caused by improper treatment and disposal of sewage.
ON-LOT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
The Township On-Lot Management Program includes the inspection and proper maintenance of on-lot systems. The program requires all property owners with on-lot systems to have their tanks pumped and inspected by a registered hauler once every four years. Property owners will be notified when, in the four-year cycle, they are to have their system pumped and inspected. Included with the notification, a Septic System Report form will be provided for the hauler to complete and for the property owner to return to the Township within thirty (30) days of the system being pumped and inspected. Proper on-lot system maintenance can prevent premature system failure, contamination of local drinking water and transmission of waterborne illnesses. In order for a system owner to be considered for an extension of their pump out, they must complete the Application for Extension of Septic System Pumping.
what to flush into your septic system
ONLY normal domestic wastes shall be discharged into any on-lot sewage system:
- Toilet Paper
- Human Waste and Wastewater
What not to flush into your septic system
The following SHOULD NEVER be discharged into the system:
- Industrial wastes.
- Automobile oil and other non-domestic oil.
- Cigarette butts, paper towels, disposable diapers, femine products, any sort of trash.
- Toxic or hazardous substances or chemicals including, but not limited to, pesticides, disinfectants, acids, paints, thinners, herbicides, gasoline and other solvents.
- Clean surface or ground water, including water from roof or cellar drains, springs, basement sump pumps and french drains.
oN-LOT SEPTIC STAFF
Wastewater Operations Specialist
717-732-3621 x 1245
Envirionmental Scientist/ Local Sewage Enforcement Officer
What is On-Lot Management?
Although an on-lot system is a very simple and inexpensive way to treat wastewater, it must be maintained to be long-lasting and trouble free. East Pennsboro Township Commissioners have enacted a program to ensure that all property owners follow a few simple procedures to keep their on-lot systems properly maintained. On-lot management is a Township-wide program that establishes a schedule for the periodic removal of accumulated solids from septic tanks and inspection of the on-lot systems.
Why is an Ordinance needed?
Most of us do not really think about our on-lot systems, which are usually out of sight out of mind. Sometimes, it is only after problems arise; such as sewage backups, contaminated wells, or problems in selling a home; that we give serious thought to on-lot systems. The majority of the homes in East Pennsboro Township with on-lot systems also have on-lot wells for drinking water. Failure to properly maintain an on-lot system can lead to premature failure of the system, contamination of area drinking water wells and transmission of waterborne diseases. It is the Commissioner’s desire to ensure that the Township’s groundwater resources are kept clean and safe for drinking water supply.
Do other Municipalities in Cumberland County have On-Lot Management Programs?
Yes, several municipalities in Cumberland County have adopted on-lot management and many more are considering programs as they perform sewage facilities planning. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages each municipality with on-lot systems to enact on-lot management. DEP provides annual subsidies to reimburse municipalities’ for 50% of the municipalities’ cast to administer the program.
What are the homeowners' responsibilities under the program?
All on-lot system owners must have their septic tanks pumped out and inspected at least once every four years. All on-lot system owners will receive notices from the Township at the beginning of the given year directing them to have their systems pumped during that calendar year. Home owners must contract with a licensed pumper of their choice to have the system pumped and inspected during the calendar year the notice is received. A list of licensed pumpers can be found on East Pennsboro Township’s website under On-Lot or by contacting the Cumberland County Solid Waste Authority. The notice will include a form (East Pennsboro Township Septic System Report) to be completed by the pumper regarding the condition of the tank and disposal of the septage. The home owner shall then make a copy of the report and mail or hand deliver the septic system report to the township building.
What if I want to have my system pumped more frequently than every 4 years?
You are free to have your system pumped out more frequently than every four years. However, the ordinance requires that the Township’s Septic System Report be fully completed and signed by the pumper each time a septic tank is emptied. A copy of the Report should be submitted to the Township.
What if I believe that pumping every 4 years is too frequent for my system?
The on-lot management ordinance provides for pumping intervals greater than every 4 years when the on-lot system owner can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Township that the system can operate efficiently with less frequent pumping. The system owner will need to fill out an Application for Extension of Septic System Pumping which can be found on the Township’s webpage under On Lot or at the Township Building. In no case shall the pumping period extend beyond 8 years. The Township will determine if an exemption can be granted to the 4 year pumping frequency based on factors such as tank size, historical pumping frequency, maintenance reports and other factors the Township may consider pertinent. The Township may require an on-lot inspection for the purpose of evaluation requests for less frequent pumping. The applicant will bear the cost for any such inspection.
What will the Township do with the information provided on the report form?
The pumper completing the septic tank system inspection must record his findings on the East Pennsboro Township Septic System Report form. The pumper shall fully complete the form to address all requested information. The property owner is then responsible for providing a copy of the completed inspection report to the Township within thirty days of the inspection. The Township will then enter the information contained on the inspection form into its on-lot management database. The information will be used to:
- Confirm the system has been pumped out and inspected;
- Confirm the system is operation properly; and
- Provide adequate information to the Township to plan for potential public sewer extension to areas of need.
What if a problem is found by the pumper during the inspection?
If the report form indicates a problem with the system, the Township will forward the form to the Township Sewage Enforcement Officer to investigate. The SEO will contact the home owner to arrange for a time to investigate the problem. The SEO is a fully trained professional who will work with the property owner to resolve the problem. Sometimes the solutions involve simple, inexpensive steps that do not require modification to the system. However, in other cases the solution may require system modification or replacement. The SEO will consider all feasible alternative before issuing a repair notice.
What will happen if I do not comply with the Ordinance?
The Township Commissioners hope all Township citizens will fully comply with the provisions of the ordinance. The ordinance has been developed to protect public health, the water resources of the Township, and the citizens’ investment in their on-lot systems. All on-lot system owners must comply with the ordinance in order for these goals to be reached. Any person that fails to comply with any provision of the ordinance shall, upon conviction by the District Justice, be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 plus costs or imprisonment. This penalty provision is similar to the penalty provisions of other Township ordinances.