Recently, KLH Engineers, the Township's sanitary operations engineer, presented to Township Council a new Act 537 Plan identifying proposed upgrades to the Water Pollution Control (sewer) Plant. A notice was then placed in the Post Gazette as well as the Township's website and Facebook page for public comment. This presentation has raised a number of resident questions and/or concerns that I would like to take this opportunity to address.
What is an Act 537 Plan?
An Act 537 Plan is a special study of a sanitary sewerage system's facilities. In Hampton's case, it is a special study to develop and evaluate options to strategically upgrade the existing Allison Park Water Pollution Control Plant (the Township's sewer plant) and to allow for better efficiencies in the operations and compliance of the plant with current as well as future demands and regulatory requirements.
Why is an Act 537 Plan necessary?
An Act 537 Plan is necessary for two basic reasons: First, and most importantly, it presents a comprehensive plan of identified system needs or upgrades so that the public can see the big picture; and, second, it presents alternative solutions in a strategic format that takes into account present, future and anticipated operational as well as environmental requirements. It is, if you will, a road map into the current as well as future operations of a sanitary sewer system.
Okay, but is it true that the Hampton Plan says that my sewer rates are going up in 2018?
NO, it does not!! It identifies an estimated cost for the sewer plant upgrades and an estimated cost of what these upgrades translate into for the individual customer. NOTHING REGARDING RATES HAS BEEN DECIDED OR EVEN PROPOSED TO TOWNSHIP COUNCIL.
Yes, but rates will go up if this plan is implemented, correct?
Correct; at some point some amount of a sewer rate increase will have to be considered by the Township. When and how much of an increase has yet to be finalized, however, the Act 537 Plan does identify an estimated rate increase of $.89 per day or $27 per month to offset the $45.1 million in system upgrades.
A possible rate increase..will there be an opportunity for public input?
ABSOLUTELY! In conjunction with an Act 537 Plan, there is a requirement for public input. Besides normal monthly Council meetings, at least three (3) special public hearings will be held during the upcoming year alone; most likely one in late summer, one in the fall, and one in early winter. Residents are also encouraged to contact the Township at their convenience to become better informed with regard to the Act 537 Plan process and/or to offer their opinions as they desire.
REMEMBER, the presentation of the Act 537 Plan is not the end of the process, but the beginning of one. Please follow the Township's website, Facebook page or Twitter account for more information as this process evolves.
In the meantime, should you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact me at the Township office by telephone at 412-486-0400 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
W. Christopher Lochner,