Untreated sewage reaching the Upper Delaware in the area of Masthope, Lackawaxen Township has raised much concern by the National Park Service.
Sean McGuinness, Superintendent of the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, told the Upper Delaware Council (UDC), August 1, that "lots and lots of raw sewage" was reaching the river following the busy July 4th holiday weekend. He pointed to the treatment plant at Masthope Mountain Community as the source.
He said this was the third untreated discharge in the last couple years of which he is aware.
Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. owns and operates the central water and sewer service at Masthope. An Aqua spokesperson, Donna Alston, told The News Eagle that there has been no overflow discharge that would cause a violation. Park Service representatives visited Masthope with pictures of the discharge and were given a tour of the plant.
Alston said that Aqua checked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and learned that everything had checked out.
DEP spokesperson Coleen Connolly, at the Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre, reported that DEP responded to the complaint on July 17, by visiting the Masthope treatment plant and taking samples. She said that the test results were still pending, but their inspector observed nothing amiss and there was no foul odor. She said that Aqua's quarterly test reports for Masthope have been in line.
McGuiness said that the Park Service is working in conjunction with Lackawaxen Township, the DEP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate the cause.
He said that the treatment plant servicing the Masthope community has a large holding tank to handle overflow so that it can be gradually processed following a particularly busy weekend when many more residents are up and using the system.
McGuinness stated that the Park Service has photographs of the discharge being sent under-pressure, four feet into the air. The odor and appearance, as it went into the river, "was obvious" that it was sewage, he stated.
Samples were taken by the Park Service upstream as well as downstream in the Delaware and in Masthope Creek. "Downstream and the channel were off the chart," McGuinness said of the readings.
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