LT Gets Tough on Sewer Violations

CLEARFIELD – Code Enforcement Officer Debra Finkbeiner reported at Tuesday night’s Lawrence Township meeting that fines were issued to residents for inflow/infiltration and sewer violations.

She said that $25 fines were issued to households for failure to allow access for sewerage inspections and testing. She added that she has received a 40 percent response from those fined, with some scheduling of home inspections.

Finkbeiner said several argued against the fines, claiming they didn’t know anything about the fines or what they were required to do. She said it is difficult to believe such claims, as the sewage improvement project was in 2014, and information was provided to residents through meetings and news reports, as well as mailed and hand-delivered notifications.

Supervisor Ed Brown said the only thing the township could do is to verify when notifications were issued and to whom. If the Code Enforcement office has proof of notifications, the fines will be upheld. If it is proven that fines were issued in error, they will be waived or reversed, Brown said.

Finkbeiner said she was lenient in issuing the $25 fines for violations that could have been $1,000 fines.

Finkbeiner also reported that two residents known to be in violation for sewage inflow/infiltration problems and have made no effort to correct the issues will be referred to the district magistrate for action.

Finkbeiner said it was brought to her attention that residents previously found to be in violation of sewage codes that had disconnected storm drainage from the sewage collection system have reconnected stormwater drains to the system. She noted this is a direct code violation, and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. She said there will be no tolerance and they will be caught.

Brown said the Code Enforcement office has a list of residents with sump pumps and the allegations will be investigated.

Finkbeiner stressed that the township and sewage authority are continually spending taxpayer money trying to fix the ongoing sewage inflow/infiltration problems and paying the resulting fines from the sttate Department of Environmental Protection, while violators continue to contribute to the problem.

Township Secretary Barb Shaffner reported the resignation of Randy Powell from the township Zoning Hearing Board, effective Dec. 31. The supervisors accepted the resignation, extending their appreciation to Powell for 26 years of “excellent service” on the board and approved to advertise to fill the vacancy.

Supervisor Vice Chairman Dan Mitchell said he looks forward to welcoming Powell to the township board in January. Powell was elected to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 3.

Shaffner also reported that the township was notified of its 2015 Community Development Block Grant allotment, totaling $99,718.

The supervisors also approved the:

  • tentative budget for 2016. Shaffner said the total balanced budget for the new fiscal year is $3,297,203, with no tax increase.
  • drawdown of CDBG grant funds of $1,343, payable to the project engineers, Stiffler McGraw & Associates Inc.

Representatives from the Joseph & Elizabeth Shaw Public Library gave a presentation pointing out the benefits of the community library, including literacy, technology, research, community engagement and learning. They thanked the supervisors for their previous support and asked to consider increase in new budget. The library director also presented a special project grant option that is available to local governments, in which a small grant can be awarded toward a specific project, such as the recent roofing project for library.

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