Allen Township Supervisors are exploring future sewer options should an agreement with Northampton Borough not be reached by May. These options range from constructing their own sewer plant to potentially redirecting flow to Catasauqua.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has required the township and borough to submit a joint Act 537 plan by May. This act requires individual municipalities to address sewer needs. Because of existing connections, Allen Township and Northampton must submit a joint plan. However, the two municipalities are without a formal sewer agreement, which expired in 2016. This has left the township without available EDUs and developers without certificates of occupancy for their properties.
“We need to have this plan done, like, now,” said Andrea Martin of Barry Isett & Associates during the township’s January 11 meeting. “A lack of communication on an agreement [with Northampton] has really put us in a bind.”
Unsure as to whether or not a sewer agreement will be reached with Northampton, Martin said the township needs to present alternative options to the DEP in their Act 537 plan.
One option, she said, is for the township to completely disconnect from Northampton’s water and sewer authority and construct their own sewage plant. However, she warned such a move would be “economically infeasible” and a ”massive undertaking.”
Another alternative would be to redirect sewage flow to Catasauqua, depending on the borough’s capacity. Martin says her office has reached out to the borough to get reporting on capacity, but has not yet approached their board.
Martin estimates that the township could potentially pull two-thirds of their current flow from Northampton with “relative minimal effort.” While a pump station is needed, this alternative is a more “realistic viable option” than a new sewage plant.
While the township’s primary option is still to maintain cooperation with Northampton, “If [the agreement] cannot get resolved…we can’t leave it open-ended,” Martin says. “The DEP really wants to see municipal cooperation.”
The next step would be for the township to contact Catasauqua and get the borough’s feedback.
“But if Catasauqua says ‘no,’ they’re not interested…that is it,” worried Supervisor Dale Hassler. “If we divert EDUs…what about the money we spent already? We spent millions, and we’re going to lose that.”
“It doesn’t matter what we spent up to now,” said Supervisor Tim Paul. “What is better for the future?”
In other news, the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks sent a presentation to supervisors. This advocacy group fights against state legislation that would increase the tonnage of tractor-trailers on local roads. Currently, legislation in the assembly would increase truck weight limits from 80,000 pounds to 95,000.
The coalition says this will lead to more severe crashes, more wear and tear on roads, and more destruction to infrastructure. They have asked the township to prepare a letter to the state senate in opposition to these new weight limits. Supervisors will review the materials and vote at a future meeting.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be on Tuesday, January 25 at 7 p.m.