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Sanitary Sewer Services

Sanitary Sewer Overflow

Many people don't realize that when it rains, raw, untreated sewage may flow into our rivers and streams.

During wet weather (rain/snow melt) excess water gets into the sanitary sewage system through deteriorated pipes and illegal downspout connections from homes. This additional water exceeds the capacity of the pipes that carry sewage to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN), the regional sewage treatment facility. When this happens, raw sewage overflows into rivers and streams. The federal Clean Water Act requires communities to eliminate and/or control these sewer overflows.

In O'Hara Township, the sanitary sewage collection system is designed to carry wastewater to the treatment plant. Stormwater is carried in a separate system. However, in the 1940's and 50's when most of the sanitary sewage system was constructed, structures called sanitary sewer overflows (SSO's) were built into the system. If the sanitary sewage system receives too much flow, the overflow is discharged from the SSO's into area waterways before it reaches the treatment plant. This prevents overflows of manholes or back ups in homeowners' basements. While SSO's were consistent with environmental standards at the time they were built, the Clean Water Act now deems them unlawful. The Environmental Protection Agency in enforcing the Clean Water Act, will impost large penalties and fines on those communities who fail to eliminate SSO's from their sanitary sewage systems.

All 83 communities served by ALCOSAN, including O'Hara Township, must address the SSO problem. O'Hara is part of the Northern Communities Basin Group which meets regularly to consider the sewer overflow issue. As a result of this cooperation, a cost effective, regional strategy is being developed. As this issue develops, look for more information about what improvements will made to be presented in the O'Hara Newsletter.

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Sanitary Sewer Certificates

Per Township Ordinance No. 1299 a Sanitary Sewer Certificate must be obtained from the Township prior to a property sale or transfer in O'Hara. Without a Sanitary Sewer Certificate, a Municipal Certification letter (aka "No-Lien Letter") will not be issued for the property.

A Sanitary Sewer Certificate is issued after a registered plumber performs a test verifying that no storm, ground or surface water is directed into the sanitary sewer system. Property owners arrange and pay for a registered plumber to perform the test.

The Township witnesses, inspects and certifies the test at a cost of $100 for residential buildings and $200 - $400 for commercial buildings.

Applications for Certification must be made at least 30 days prior to the closing. However, it is advisable to have the test done as early as possible in the sale process, as replacement or repairs MUST be made prior to closing.

 For more information about the Sanitary Sewer Certification program, see the link to the ordinance below or contact the Township office.

  Sanitary Sewer Certification Application
  Sanitary Sewer Certificate Ordinance No. 1299


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Usage Rates & Connect Fees

Ordinance No. 1318, enacted January 10, 2017 increased sewer usage fees as noted below.

Usage Fees
(effective for usage occuring after 01/01/2017)

Usage
O'Hara Township $2.25
Alcosan $6.91
TOTAL $8.08 per 1000 Gallons


Service Charges
O'Hara Township $5.65
Alcosan $14.51
TOTAL

$18.43 Quarterly Service Charge

Connection Fees
Sanitary sewer tap-in fee - $3,300.00 per dwelling unit connection
Storm sewer tap-in fee - $250.00 per connection



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Stormwater Regulations

New federal requlations issued in 1999 established a permit requirement for small municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4s”). The Township of O’Hara, along with an estimated 940 other municipalities in Pennsylvania, must meet these new permit requirements.

The regulations required states, including Pennsylvania, to set up a permit program for the permitting requirements by December 2002. It also required MS4s to obtain permit coverage by March 2003. The Township has complied with the requirement to obtain permit coverage.

The federal requlations establish six categories of Best Management Practices (“BMPs”) that must be met by permittees. The BMPs must be designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants from MS4s to the maximum extent practicable to protect water quality and to satisfy the appropriate requirements for the Federal Clean Water Act.

The six BMP categories are as follows:

  • Public education—this includes the distribution of educational materials and performing outreach to inform citizens of reasons to control stormwater runoff
  • Public participation and involvement—this includes providing opportunities for citizens to participate in stormwater program development and implementation
  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination—this element includes developing and implementing a plan to detect and eliminate illicit discharges to the stormwater system
  • Construction site runoff control—this includes developing, implementing and enforcing a sediment and erosion control program for construction activities
  • Post-construction runoff control—this element includes developing, implementing and enforcing a program to address discharges of post-construction runoff and specifies appropriate stormwater treatment practices (STPs)
  • Pollution prevention and good housekeeping—this includes developing and implementing a program with the goal of preventing or reducing pollutant runoff from municipal operations

To get a better understanding of stormwater, Best Management Practices and what you can do to help protect and improve water quality, it is suggested that you navigate through the following web sites:

http://www.stormwatercenter.net

http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/watershed_management/10593

http://accdpa.org/



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Information on the O'Hara Township website is provided as a service to the community. Township rules and regulations are subject to change and the information on this web site should be considered as general guidance only. While the Township attempts to post current and useful information, not all information may be complete, accurate or up to date. In general, inquiries (including reference to official documents) can and should be made to the Township before proceeding with plans or programs.