PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP ACT 537 OFFICIAL PLAN UPDATE INFORMATION
As a predominantly rural and residential community, Plainfield Township has an extremely limited amount of residential and commercial development that is served by public sewer. Throughout the rest of the Township, property owners must carefully manage and maintain their private wastewater systems, which are commonly referred to as On-Lot Disposal Systems (OLDS).
As a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Plainfield Township is required to maintain compliance with Act 537 (“the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act”). Act 537 requires that all municipalities develop, revise and implement Official Sewage Facility Plans (“Act 537 Plan” or simply “Official Plan”).
A fundamental part of this Act 537 Plan is the identification and documentation of the sewage disposal needs in a municipality. The purpose of this document is twofold: first, to provide methods that clearly identify and document existing wastewater disposal needs and second, to provide general guidance for summarizing and presenting the identified needs. Plainfield Township is required to keep this planning document current. It was brought to the attention of Township officials that the Township’s Act 537 Plan had not been substantively revised or updated since 1991. It immediately became readily apparent to Township officials that the Act 537 Plan for Plainfield Township needed to be updated in the best interests of the public health and welfare of Plainfield Township residents.
Beginning in 2019, Plainfield Township is now in the process of updating the Act 537 Official Plan across the entire Township. On or about October 4, 2019, important mailers were sent out to all Plainfield Township residents that requested the completion of a survey form and to inform residents that the Township’s Sewage Enforcement Officer (Ott Consulting, Inc.) would be going door-to-door to collect information about the types of OLDS presently in use throughout the Township and if any sewer disposal problems currently exist. Surveys are a requirement of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Please note that Township representatives will not inspect On-Lot Disposal Systems (OLDS) without first obtaining the prior consent and permission from property owners. The door-to-door surveys will start on or about October 14th, and the representative of Ott Consulting conducting the surveys will be able to present identification which postively confirms their affiliation with Plainfield Township upon request.
The purpose of the survey information to determine the condition of the OLDS within Plainfield Township and to determine if the condition of any OLDS would affect the quality and safety of the drinking water of residents. This information will then be considered and used to update the Plainfield Township Act 537 Official Plan. In updating the Act 537 Plan, it is the intent of Township officials to keep the predominantly rural character of Plainfield Township in place and to adequately plan for the future sewage needs of the Township while utilizing the most economical methods possible.
Plainfield Township officials are appreciative of your anticipated cooperation in successfully completing this important project.
Frequently Asked Questions
ACT 537 – Sewage Disposal Needs Survey
Plainfield Township is currently completing a Township-Wide Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537) Plan. When preparing an Act 537 Plan, a community’s wastewater disposal “needs” must be documented. Adequate documentation of these sewage disposal needs is considered fundamental for all following work involving sewage disposal alternatives and solutions.
The purpose of this document is to provide the community information of the Needs Survey process and what to expect as a resident.
What is a Sewage Needs Survey?
A Sewage Needs Survey (Survey) is the identification of sewage associated malfunctions and environmental contamination throughout the Township. The identification and documentation of sewage associated problems involves the collection and tabulation of information, much of which currently exists in the form of reports, surveys and administrative actions, and then verifying the data with actual field work.
DEP requires a 25% participation rate for adequate representative sampling across the Township. When performing a Survey, Public Health and Water Pollution Needs are evaluated in order to identify and prioritize sub-areas for closer scrutiny or simply gathering generic information for a large area.
Field surveys are instrumental to obtain documentation for inclusion in the Act 537 Plan.
How Do I Participate?
A Sewage Needs Survey will be performed by the Township’s Consultants, Entech Engineering, Inc. and Ott Consulting (current Township Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO)). A survey form will be mailed to each Township resident and will request information on your on-lot septic system and current water supply. If you are currently on a well and if you participate in the Survey, a free water sample of your well water will be drawn and sent to a local laboratory for bacterial and nitrate analysis. Upon request, you will be provided laboratory results of your well water to keep for your records.
What Happens with My Information?
The Township requests the residents to participate in the Survey, but they are voluntary. Please keep in mind, the results of this Survey are confidential and will not be used by our SEO for enforcement purposes. The results of the Survey will be used for the Act 537 Plan to evaluate and develop alternatives to address sewage disposal deficiencies throughout the Township. Such alternatives may include sewage management programs (i.e., periodic septic tank pumping) or structural improvements such as sanitary sewer extensions or community sewer facilities. Each alternative will evaluate the demographic, physical/geological, and economic data on the Township.
Who Should I Contact if I Have Questions?
Opportunity for public comment will be available throughout the development of the Plan, and community outreach in the form of Township website updates, newsletters, and public presentations. You may also call the Township or Entech Engineering, Inc. if you have any further questions.
Where Can I Find More Information?
DEP regulations that address the administration of the Act 537 planning process are located in Title 25, Pa. Code, Chapter 71. Rules for the OLDS permitting process are located in Chapter 72 and technical standards addressing the design of OLDS in Pennsylvania are located in Chapter 73. All three chapters are available at www.pacode.com.
For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Sewage or click on “Regional Resources.”