An exploratory discussion was held January 25 between the supervisors of Palmyra Township-Pike County and the Hawley Area Authority board about extending a sewer line down Route 6 on the Pike County side.

PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - An exploratory discussion was held January 25 between the supervisors of Palmyra Township-Pike County and the Hawley Area Authority board about extending a sewer line down Route 6 on the Pike County side.

Supervisor Ken Coutts explained afterward that business owners in the commercial district in that section have been very favorable about having access to a central sewer system. The Township has been approached in past years about the possibility. Being able to have this service, he said, would allow businesses to grow and expand, thus boosting the local economy.

Study was done

Presently these businesses rely on sand mounds and septic systems, which are limited in capacity and would require more room than many businesses have, if they were to enlarge their on-lot systems.

Eric Ehrhardt, Palmyra -Pike Supervisor, explained to the Authority board that the Township had an “Act 537” plan study done in the last few years, and found that it would be “cost prohibitive” to develop their own service. They had looked at a spray irrigation system.

“We started off with their engineer coming in with one number, and then all of the sudden the number tripled and it became economically unfeasible,” Ehrhardt said. “The good thing is we have a lot of data from those studies that were done.”

The Act 537 plan, required by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), looks at the sewer treatment needs of a community, and outlining the alternative methods that could be done or would have to be ruled out, before considering a central sewer treatment system. Costs are spelled out.

At that time, however, Hawley Area Authority had not extended their line from the treatment plant in Hawley Borough down Route 6 in Palmyra Township- Wayne County.

In 2016, after a several year project, completed the line, which extended service from where it had ended at the Lake Region office of The Dime Bank, as far as the junction of Route 6 and 590, at the county bridge. This serves the commercial district on the Wayne County side, including Lake Region IGA, Wallenpaupack Brewing Company and many other businesses.

Now that this is completed, it makes the idea more feasible, to continue that extension into the Pike side of the commercial Wallenpaupack corridor.

Ehrhardt said that before they proceed any further, they will need to know what the costs would be, and given the sewer treatment plant capacity for additional hookups, how far can the line go. He said they would like to extend it down Route 6 as far as the Tafton Dike and continue along the commercial area on Route 507, as far as they are able.

School could tap in
The treatment plant has a 200,000 gallon per day (gpd) capacity, and has 100,000 gpd available. The plant is also undergoing a required upgrade. Bryon Killian, who represents Entech Engineering, said that the upgraded plant would be capable of further capacity, although would need approval by DEP.

The supervisor said that they would only need to serve one side of Route 6, the side away from the lake. He said they had not approached the Wallenpaupack Area School District, to see if they would be interested in “tapping in.” Businesses and other entities on the lake side of Route 6 are on lands of Brookfield Renewable, the power company that owns the lake. The sewer needs are served by a 40,000 gpd plant operated by the School District.

“That would absorb a lot of the capacity,” Ehrhardt said. The Authority’s solicitor, Tony Magnotta, replied, “My suspicion is that the school would love to get out of the sewer business.”

Contacted the next day by The News Eagle, District Superintendent Michael Silsby confirmed that they would welcome that possibility. The District owns their sewer plant, and contracts an operator. The plant also serves the elementary and middle schools at the end of Atlantic Avenue.

Will get the numbers

Killian said he would take the data the Township will supply, and get back to them with an idea of the costs and reach that can be served by the Hawley plant.

Even though the plant currently has capacity, he said that the DEP will require an updated Act 537 to rule out other alternatives before hooking to the plant. “I won’t say it’s impossible, it’s definitely an effort to go through and look at land-based alternatives to make sure they’re not technically feasible,” he said.

Killian asked they the township show what their highest priority areas are, to help determine costs. The Authority has a $3,500 tapping fee and a rate of $56 per quarter per EDU.

Joe Kmetz, supervisor, Palmyra Township- Wayne, who is on the Authority board. The Township received a grant from state gaming funds, which paid for 80% of the costs. The remaining costs of the extension completed in 2016 are borne by all the rate payers, rather than only the businesses that connected to the new line extension.
Kmetz advised that the Pike supervisors be sure to get all their property easements, for placing lines.

A request from a local business owner for the sewer line extension in Palmyra- Wayne was made at one of their township meetings in February 2010.

Magnotta said that the business people connected to the extension were eager to be hooked up.

“Our businesses are pretty much at a stalemate,” Pike Supervisor Coutts said. “They can’t expand…”

Killian said they will have to look at what sort of flows Palmyra Township-Pike would need, and where the Authority thinks they will need to go in terms of capacity use in the next 20 years.

He said it appeared a lot of the work has already been done, by the Township. “We have a 537 plan done, right up to the point where you’d have the hearings,” Ehrhardt said. Although a few years old, Killian said that shouldn’t become an issue. Magnotta added there is a lot of political support to get this done.