Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Something Stinks

Every great story has two critical elements:  the hero and the villain.  Our culture has become such that figuring out whom to root for in our modern tales barely requires breaking a sweat:  you always root for the underdog over the privileged elite, the poor over the rich, the nerd over the jock, and always, ALWAYS the environment over the developer.  In the story where the environment is in jeopardy, you always root for the environment.

Except when the environment isn’t really in jeopardy.  And the ones who are championing it may have motives that are more self-serving than altruistic.  When the Perkiomen Creek is the point of contention, environmentalism can be a convenient cover for NIMBYs and political gamesmanship.

 The story of the Lower Perkiomen Middle Interceptor may be such a story.  Up until recently, you’ve heard one side; the easy side: The side of the tireless champions of the environment fighting the nefarious forces of development, the romantic tale of the little guy standing fearlessly in front of the bulldozer.  A story where the heroes and villains are so obvious couldn’t possibly have another side, could it?

 Well, maybe.  Most of the articles published in local papers or online to date appear to have taken some individuals’ assertions at face value without researching them; I’ve found numerous documents that contradict those assertions. I leave it to you to decide whether there are good guys and bad guys in this story, or just differences of opinion and conflicting interests.

The middle portion of the sewer interceptor is part of a larger regional sewer upgrade project planned ten years ago by the Lower Perkiomen Valley Regional Sewer Authority (LPVRSA) (which I’ve written about previously, here).  The plans are slowly moving forward, but not without all the attendant mess and drama that comes with removing a stubborn blockage from a sewage pipe.

After the PA DEP approved the location of the middle interceptor on the LP side of the creek in 2004, the design plans were begun, although the Executive Summary of the original Act 537 plan* approved in February 2004 contained language indicating that the interceptor paralleling was to occur in “previously disturbed areas” – something that is not physically possible for any of the interceptor sections. The map included as part of the Act 537 plan showed a bold blue line indicating that the interceptor could be on either side of the creek. 

The issue has been heating up (backing up?) over the summer, with LP on the offensive in the press. You may have seen many of the articles and posts on Patch and in the Times Herald giving their perspective. As always, however, there are two sides to every story, and recently, LPVRSA (see their Fact sheet, here) and the other five individual member municipalities began to fight back to address the lopsided story being told by Lower Providence.  Two of the six member municipalities recently sent letters to their rate payers blaming Lower Providence for a rise in rates.

My interest in the subject at this time is driven by one thing: why hasn’t the press gone looking for other sides of the story? If I had questions that were going unasked and unanswered, surely others must be, too.  It’s a long story, with a lot of moving parts, but your public dollars are being spent and rates are going up accordingly. 

You decide if that expenditure is worth it or an exercise in vanity.

History of LPVRSA

LP has a contentious history as a member of LPVRSA. The regional authority as we know it today was created in 1986 as a replacement for the municipalities’ collaboration with the Montgomery County Sewer Authority. When LPVRSA was formed, Montgomery County was to stay involved until 2006, then exit and hand over control of the sewer system to LPVRSA. The system was already in a state of disrepair back then and in dire need of additional capacity. In order to get EDUs needed to expand the plant to serve the growing member communities, Upper Providence took the lead in getting the other members to cooperate in an effort to get the County to exit sooner – and the County wanted out as well.  Montgomery County turned the system over to LPVRSA completely in 2002.

To boil a very complex issue down to its simplest elements (the details of that conflict would require an entirely separate post), a conflict arose over allocation of EDUs between each member community and the valuation of each. At the very last meeting, where the signing to transfer power from the County to LPVRSA was to take place, Upper Providence and Lower Providence were the last two member communities to sign, and as it turned out, neither wanted to sign due to the EDU dispute. While a solution was negotiated at the time that got the two to sign, it is still a sore point with LP that carries over into the present time and is why, along with a dispute over how the Sewer Services Agreement is interpreted, LP has escrowed a portion of their payments for sewer treatment charges invoiced by LPVRSA since 2004 – representing the difference between what LP and LPVRSA believe they owe -- to the tune of approximately $300,000 a year, or $3 million to date, instead of paying that to LPVRSA.

In addition, more recently LP has locked horns with LPVRSA with struggles over Right To Know requests – in 2010 LP was sued by LPVRSA over their refusal to turn over relevant documents, and lost in court in a 2011 decision – and placement of the middle interceptor on the Lower Providence side along the creek.

Lower Providence Board of Supervisors joins forces with the Special Interests

LP’s Board of Supervisors intervened in the current middle interceptor dispute a couple of years ago, in April 2010, at the behest of a special interest group populated by some members of the Indianhead Watershed Association who live on the LP side of the creek. Arcola Road resident Cathy Beyer has been their unofficial spokesperson (the Association itself has taken a neutral stance since it has members on both sides of the creek) for several years in front of our BOS and in January 2012 was appointed to LP’s Sewer Authority.  
Ironically a few years back (2007-2008), Mrs. Beyer made a pitch to LP’s Parks & Recreation Board, asking for permission to operate a commercial business at the nearby bucolic creekside setting of Hoy Park. LP shot down her request because she didn’t want to assume setup costs nor pay LP Township anything. She apparently wasn’t averse to making money off a public property by bringing tourists and the noise and trash they bring with them to the same peaceful, beautiful environment whose disruption she is now so loudly protesting.

LP Township is advocating against the interceptor's placement on the LP side of the creek, which LPVRSA documents indicate is arguably the least expensive and disruptive option, in favor of placing it on the Upper Providence side.  Anything other than the first option below, using gravity, will require at least one pumping station. The most recent options and alternatives are listed below; LPVRSA is now soliciting updated construction cost estimates for each from two contractors for each option, several of which are newer ones:

  • Arcola 1 (East) -  The current gravity design which is routed through Lower Providence residents’ backyards for this section. This alternative involves 3,200 feet of 54” of sewer and 600 feet of inverted siphon stream crossings. This option is the least expensive.
  • Arcola 2 (West) – 3,600 feet of 54” gravity sewer on the Upper Providence side of the Perkiomen Creek, offset 30 feet from existing 42” interceptor.  This option costs considerably more because the 30’ offset requires cutting into the steep slope immediately next to the existing interceptor.
For both Arcola 1 and 2, LPVRSA will also examine the potential of using smaller pipes through simultaneous use of the existing 42” interceptor (slip-lined), moving the connection location of the Doe Run interceptor, or a combination of both (a 7th option). 

·         Arcola 3 (West) - 3,550 feet of gravity sewer installed in the same trench as the existing 42” sewer.

·         Arcola 4 (West) – Using the existing interceptor (slip-lined), and building a pump station located on the Upper Providence side of the Perkiomen, immediately downstream of the Arcola Road bridge.

·         Arcola 4e (East) – Using the existing interceptor (slip-lined), and building a 16 mgd pump station located on the Lower Providence side of the Perkiomen, immediately downstream of the Arcola Road bridge.

·         Arcola 5 (East) – Installing approximately 5,400 feet of 18” sewer in order to change the location where Upper Providence’s Doe Run Interceptor connects to the Perkiomen Creek Interceptor between manholes P52 and PN38. This alternative does not provide a complete solution for the provision of sewage conveyance but may serve to reduce the flows within the Perkiomen Creek Interceptor and allow use of smaller pipe sizes for the other alternatives.

They expect to issue a report in mid-November indicating the costs for each. Some will be more expensive due to anticipated construction difficulties such as placing new pipe in steep slope areas, and some will be less; slip-lining options don’t allow for additional needed capacity and are at best short-term solutions.

LPVRSA was going to use an independent engineer (rather than its own engineer) to analyze options and to solicit bid proposals, something DEP suggested, and LP supported, until LP Chairman Rick Brown flatly rejected all options which would involve anything going on the LP side of the creek, so it would be a waste of money for an independent engineer to study a set of alternatives that did not include LP options.

LP has been waging war in the press for months, throwing anything and everything possible at the issue in attempts to block or delay the construction, including:

·         Alleging that the wording in the original Act 537 plan means that the interceptor must be placed on the Upper Providence side of the river, when in actuality the wording is vague enough to be construed either way. An accompanying map shows a broad blue line traversing both sides of the creek, and plans agreed upon by all member communities as early as November 2004 have shown LP as the proposed location;

·         Threatening to sue LPVRSA for a declaratory judgment (which, although the Times Herald  has reported it has already been filed, it still has not been initiated by LP)

·         claiming an allegedly significant archeological find on the proposed site, which supposedly triggers a detailed study and excavation of the site, and signaled intent to petition to have the location added to the National Register of Historic Places; LP also claims that they would not have granted easements for the project had they known about the archeological finds sooner, but LPVRSA records indicate that LP was regularly updated on such developments between 2005 and 2009; the easements were granted in 2009.

·         threatening to try to have the easements granted to date vacated on the grounds that LP allegedly wasn’t informed about said archeological artifacts; and

·         dragging their feet on documentation required by state and federal officials. 

LPVRSA’s position
Robert Feio, LPVRSA chairman and former supervisor in Upper Providence Township, says that they are “a cooperative, working board. We implement requirements we are told to implement. We are responsible for supporting economic development of the region and environmental protection of the region.”  He estimated that approximately 35% of the 65,000 rate paying customers across the 6 member municipalities are from LP.

LPVRSA takes issue with LP’s proclivity to ‘sue first and ask questions later’ and for having an ‘our way or the highway’ attitude toward the other members. Given the various ways LP has tried to derail the project, that attitude apparently also includes a ‘pay for the interceptor the way we want it done, or pay dearly in legal fees” mentality.

Earlier this year, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) indicated that it wants all of the member townships of LPVRSA – Lower Providence, Upper Providence, Skippack, Trappe, Collegeville and Perkiomenville -- to update their 537* plans, in part to clear up any confusion as to the placement of the middle interceptor. My understanding of the update process is that it also includes each municipality’s engineer collecting the flow numbers based on current zoning and submits them to LPVRSA, who gathers the data from the member municipalities and analyzes it for inclusion in the overall plan.

While LP continues to request that LPVRSA explore other options, LPVRSA says that they have, not once, but twice (the second review at a cost of over $6,500 to LPVRSA) and have arrived at a consensus with the other five members as to which alternative is least costly and ensures the safe operation and stability of the system well into the future.

LPVRSA’s analysis makes it clear that what they call the "gravity option" (ie placement of the interceptor on the LP side of the river without a pump station) is cheaper than the plan LP originally preferred, the "LP Arcola Road alternative" and it includes $100,000 earmarked for a site archeological excavation which, by the way, would proceed at the same time as the middle interceptor project. They can go around the existing wall on the site (or under it). The pump station is noisy, disruptive and more expensive to build and operate. LPVRSA estimates the cost of the LP-preferred option would cost an additional $7.5 million in construction costs and approximately $150,000 more in annual operating costs. Without giving a specific percentage, it expected ratepayer bills to “significantly increase” as a result of the additional costs if that option were to move forward.

Among the alternatives looked at in the second review of options were the placement of four pump station options, and two additional gravity options on the UP side of the creek. The study concluded that pump station options would add anywhere from $8M to $33M to construction costs (to be passed on to ratepayers via their monthly bills)  and gravity options would add between $3M to $4M to the middle interceptor project costs, which is why they selected the gravity option on the LP side.  The placement of any pump station would be on the Upper Providence side of the creek and impact at least one resident directly. That resident, Frank and Patricia Stiefel, already have pipeline on their property and the addition of a pump station and main may require the condemnation of this resident’s home, built in 1930 and handed down through family. Officials in Upper Providence are aware that the Stiefels are vehemently opposed to this option; calls to their residence to speak to them were unreturned.

LPVRSA maintains that it actually makes more environmental and archeological sense to go with the gravity option, too, as the impact along the creek is less than with the other options. They indicated that they would time construction so as not to interfere with prime recreational periods when the waterway is in use.  

I'm told the “LP Arcola Road alternative” option was the previous option of choice for LP, which involved TWO creek crossings and a pump station on the LP side of the creek.

LP claims DEP has recommended this option, whereas LPVRSA stated in its “FAQs on the Perkiomen Interceptor” that DEP walked the site and approved the location of the middle interceptor as it was designed by LPVRSA’s engineer back in 2004 but has not endorsed any particular option. LP is hanging its hat on the original plan (with the vague language and broad blue line on the map)  which DEP was asked to approve  before LPVRSA spent considerable money to design it. 

LPVRSA feels that if they’re going to do a pump station (something no engineer so far has come out in support of), it may as well go on the UP side and run it next to the County bike trail, which would be less expensive and less environmentally invasive than the Arcola Road option. I believe that LP knows this, of course, which is why offering the Arcola Road alternative as an option is disingenuous, at best. 

Earlier this year, Upper Providence proposed coming down their side of the creek an extra 200 feet to avoid an alleged sacred Indian artifacts site, but LP’s response was that the Army Corp of Engineers wouldn’t go for it because of the steep slope. UP’s response was ‘let’s find out’. If the Indian site can be bypassed, there should be no objection, right? Suddenly tactics were switched again and LP comes up with a ‘bog turtle defense’.   

Incidently, the same tactic – an alleged bog turtle sighting - was attempted by opponents of the construction of the pharmaceutical plants in Upper Providence a few years back. They were proven false as the habitat was not one required by that species. My understanding is that this is commonly attempted as turtles are easy to catch and don’t go far once relocated. I’m not saying Ms. Beyer would do that – at least, I hope not – but on this issue, in that area, we’ve more or less ‘been there, done that’. 

In July Skippack proposed that LPVRSA provide $1 million in funds to mitigate the land disturbance in LP caused by the installation of the interceptor across the back yards of the 15 LP residents who’d be affected. So far, LP has not indicated if they are receptive to that offer.

Unable to sustain support for a pump station, the Arcola Road pump station option seems to have fallen out of the favor of LP.  They now favor a “gravity option” called the “Doe Run” option which LPVRSA insists would not only still require a pump station but would not provide the necessary increase in capacity, thereby kicking the can down the road for about 5 years.   

Where are we now? The Three-pronged Assault

The Legal Assault 

A big part of the current impasse appears to be the wording of the original Act 537 plan which has been interpreted by five of the six member municipalities to mean the interceptor will go on the Lower Providence side of the Perkiomen Creek, but which LP has interpreted to mean it will run alongside the existing interceptor, on the Upper Providence side. However, that option is physically impossible due to the steep slopes on the Upper Providence side – LPVRSA insists there is literally no room to place another pipe there alongside the existing one.

The DEP, rumored to be under pressure from Senator John Rafferty (in turn under pressure from his neighbors in the Cathy Beyer contingent), recognized a loophole that calls for adequate time for public comment on any 537 planning.  Given the dispute on placement of the middle interceptor and given that LP planned on exploiting the public comment provision to block construction of the interceptor, the DEP recommended that 537 planning be updated, thereby allowing for adequate time for public comment.  

For the sake of efficiency of time and expense, LPVRSA volunteered to take the lead in updating the 537; if each agreed, the supervisors or council of each member municipality had to vote to permit that via resolution. To date, each of the members has – except Lower Providence.  

Lower Providence did not want the municipalities to authorize LPVRSA to do this; they wanted each of the 6 member townships to plan on their own. While this arguably makes no economic or logistical sense, for Lower Providence, it would appear to really be about trying to retain some control over the process, because they are at odds with the rest of the members over where the interceptor should go.  

I'm guessing that for LP, the motive for slowing down the 537 plan update and opposing LPVRSA-led planning it that is removes one avenue for potential lawsuit – a lawsuit which they’ve already threatened—which lies in the allegedly "unclear" verbiage in the existing plan about the interceptor running "parallel" to an existing line---they know that LPVRSA will update the plan to make this verbiage as specific as it needs to be.

The Emotional Assault

Enter Cathy Beyer. In May this year, she and several of her family members attended a Board of Supervisors meeting in Upper Providence; on the UP agenda was the vote to authorize the LPVRSA to take the lead in coordinating  the aforementioned DEP recommended 537 planning.  Desperate to delay by any means necessary, Beyer resorted to tears, hinting conspiracy by telling the UP Board that there were alternatives to LPVRSA’s recommended interceptor that they had not been made aware of and would they please delay the vote until they attended a special meeting about the interceptor hosted by Lower Providence?  The Upper Providence board agreed to put off the vote, but only until their next meeting two weeks later. 

At that meeting, I’m told that Lower Providence Board of Supervisors' chairman, Rick Brown, trotted out standard strong-arm tactics - the 'iron fist in velvet gloves' approach - to try to force a favorable decision for LP. While I can respect them trying to get their own way, his tactics left something to be desired; Brown apparently thought the other members were all so ignorant of the process and the issues that LP could just BS their way through it. Needless to say, this attitude and tactics were ineffective at best and went over like a lead balloon. 

At a July DEP meeting, LP tried to get State Rep. Mike Vereb and State Senator John Rafferty involved to help move the stalemate toward resolution, but in early August, LPVRSA asked them to ‘butt out’.  
The Historical Assault

Seeing the handwriting on the wall and preemptively looking for another roadblock, Brown, a mere two days after Beyer's sobfest in Upper Providence, signaled intent to put Operation Priceless Indian Artifacts into action by proposing that the area where allegedly (and, conveniently) some arrowheads were found along LP's side of the riverbed be submitted for consideration to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

If there isn't such a thing as "historical terrorism', perhaps there should be. People have been turning up Indian arrowheads for years on both sides of the Perkiomen Creek; I'm told they were found when the original interceptor was installed.  The Phase II archeological study/Phase II work plan for the site recommended recovery of the artifacts for ultimate public display, NOT to preserve the site on which they were found.  My understanding from the study recommendations is that there is no value in preserving the artifacts intact where they are.  

LP claims that they would never have granted the easements they did for this project had they known that artifacts had been discovered, yet LPVRSA claims that LP’s representative on LPVRSA was aware of  the Archaeological Survey Reports dated June 23, 2005, February 2009 and July 2009 and presumably their contents. LP granted the easements on August 24, 2009. Current LP Board chair Rick Brown made the motion to authorize signing the easements over.  
Where do we go from here?

At this juncture, LP holds almost all the cards and there is no incentive for them to play nicely. There is no deadline to complete the 537, and if LP doesn’t update theirs on their own or allow LPVRSA to do it for them, all that will happen is that DEP will cap new hookups to the sewer system below a certain point – a point that will affect all LPVRSA members except for LP (because 80% of the flow enters below the point where LP hooks into the system) and stop all future development in those communities.

LP could elect to exit LPVRSA and just be a paying customer, but that would make no sense, because then they’d have no voice on a board that can have an impact on their community.  

Selecting one of the more costly options, and/or stopping the addition of new residents and businesses to the system by the other 5 member communities, will certainly result in increased rates for all 65,000 ratepayers.  

Of course, not acting is an option too, but not without consequence. If nothing is done and the hydraulics go beyond capacity and overload (there are already problems with infiltration due to the age of the system), DEP will issue a “Corrective Action Plan” (CAP) and a “Corrective Management Plan” (CMP) whereby LPVRSA would have to enter into a consent agreement with DEP and they then take responsibility for selecting and driving a solution…and that may be one that LP likes even less. 
While the LP Board of Supervisors has waged their battle against the middle interceptor within the confines of their political power in both the courtroom and the media, Cathy Beyer has led an all-out assault on the integrity of LPVRSA and the character of the LPVRSA Board members in traditional and social media.  Using blatant emotional appeals, heavy-handed syrupy online slide shows and shameless character smears, Cathy Beyer implies that construction of the middle interceptor is motivated by the evil intentions of the LPVRSA board who would love nothing more than to assault the environment for their own personal pleasure.

Is it possible that Lower Providence Township and Cathy Beyer, et al just care about the environment so much that they will resort to anything to win?  Is it possible that LPVRSA and those that work for it are as evil as they have been portrayed? 

Or is it more possible that the LP Board found a relatively easy issue to champion as “defender of the environment”, via a resident willing to play useful pawn, that would earn them the undying love and political support from a certain constituency even beyond those that live on the creek while providing them a nice opaque cover for gaining political payback against enemies of the past?  

Is it possible that the emotional histrionics on display are motivated more by a “not in my backyard” mentality of someone who once wanted to capitalize on that bucolic asset for her own personal monetary gain?   

Is it possible that these people may be motivated by something other than a pure love of the environment or a reverence for history? 

Is it possible that the men and women of the LPVRSA are not evil mustachioed enviro-pirates, but ordinary people looking for the best solutions to a thorny problem?  
Is it possible that the only winners in this battle have been the lawyers for both sides, whose legal fees SO FAR have been placed somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars?

I leave it to you to decide whether we live in a storyland---or the real world. 


The emotional assault continued this past Thursday evening, Oct. 18, in yet another pitch which appeared to be staged and facilitated by LP for the cameras taping the meeting for broadcast to LP residents in LP’s and/or Beyer’s continuing apparent quest to win in the court of public opinion. Ms. Beyer and her sister, Mary Kaczor, again appeared before our Board of Supervisors to give their propaganda version of the timeline and history of events in this matter as depicted on a PowerPoint presentation replete with harp music playing in the background. 

Also in attendance at the meeting were two of Upper Providence Township’s three supervisors, and their engineer, as well as a handful of residents from Upper Providence.  

While an online article by the LP Patch about this meeting appeared to ‘walk back’ the severity of some of these comments, the fact is that many bold accusations were made and character assassinations tossed around, some of which may be actionable by those individuals Ms. Beyer and her sister, Mary Kaczor, negatively spoke about.  

Among the assertions were that the Attorney General should investigate LPVRSA; however, LP Township minutes of July 1, 2010 contain a statement by Ms. Beyer that “The residents in opposition have contacted the Attorney General’s Office, who is investigating this matter”. Since nothing has ever come to light about such an investigation, I can only conclude without  looking into it further that either nothing of note was found, or the AG’s office declined to investigate.

Also asserted at the Oct. 18 presentation were that Beyer and Kaczor lost their legal fight against the condemnation of their property due to a technicality instead of the merits of the case.   Ms. Beyer stated her belief in a possible conspiracy between her attorney, whom she maintains is a former associate of LPVRSA’s counsel, and LPVRSA. However a review of the docket in those cases revealed that they were not ruled in their favor in two separate 2010 decisions (merged for appellate review) because, “…in light of Condemnees’ failure to provide the trial court with any legal authority to support their apparent contention that the Declarations [of condemnation] must comport with either a current or proposed Act 537 Plan, the undersigned is not persuaded of any adverse impact which such a Plan might have upon the validity of the Condemnor’s Declarations” and “As demonstrated, the Authority [LPVRSA] fulfilled its statutory obligations and any contention by the Condemnees that the Declarations do not comport with current Act 537 Plan is insufficient to negate the legality of those Declarations.” The decision and order of the trial court was affirmed on appeal in 2011.  In other words, she lost on the merits. If she should have plead anything else in her filings, she did not despite ample opportunity to amend her pleadings.

Ms. Beyer also made note of the fact that she’d received her condemnation notice two days before Christmas, 2009, which is true. LPVRSA admits on reflection that the timing of the notices was not ideal, but Ms. Beyer had been contacted several times prior to the condemnation notice, and plans for the middle interceptor were public knowledge to the residents since approximately June 2005 when a letter was sent to affected residents on Arcola Road, including Beyer, indicating that the proposed interceptor was being planned and that it “may not be on the same side of the creek as the existing interceptor.” 

One prior notice, a Notice of Intent to Enter Property (for surveying and studies to be conducted), was sent by LPVRSA on December 2, 2008 via certified mail and signed for by Ms. Beyer on 12/3/08. She did not respond.

A second notice requesting easements for the middle interceptor and offering a fixed amount of compensation for the easement was mailed to Ms. Beyer (and other affected residents) in July  2009. The letter indicated if the resident had questions, to please call, and I’m told Ms. Beyer did. At her request a meeting was set up and LPVRSA representatives met with her on August 29, 2009. They walked the property, and Ms. Beyer indicated her concern about a possibly historically significant wall and LPVRSA maintains they told her they could avoid it by going around it; however that would require an additional easement. According to LPVRSA, Ms. Beyer then indicated she would want additional compensation, so LPVRSA told her to get an appraisal for the additional easement so they could determine a fair amount. LPVRSA never heard from her after that, so the December “Christmas condemnation letter” followed.  

Additionally, a letter to the editor of the Times Herald appeared last week from Ms. Beyer about this issue. She signed it as though she were representing the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy; however, someone affiliated with that group who wanted to remain anonymous told me that they were “not happy about the letter, and steps will be taken to assure that it is clear that she does not represent them” and this individual also presumed that she would be hearing from their attorney. Soon afterward a disclaimer from them appeared under the online version of the letter.  I’m not authorized to speak for them either, but my impression is that the Conservancy would not take a position opposing the sewer line because in the larger picture it will improve water quality by eliminating sources of untreated sewage entering the watershed. 

In summary, it would appear that Beyer and LP are engaging in a “kitchen sink offense” … throwing anything and everything at the issue to create confusion, sympathy, anger, etc, and I personally believe most of it is pure BS on the part of yet another NIMBY faction whose legal concerns LP is only too happy to take up. Remember that when tough budget cuts are being made and/or your taxes are increased in a few weeks when LP's 2013 budget is finalized.
In Ms. Beyer’s own words, words with which I couldn’t agree more: something stinks, and it’s not necessarily sewage.



*The Act 537 Program
On January 24, 1966, the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537, as amended) was enacted to correct existing sewage disposal problems and prevent future problems. To meet this objective, the Act requires proper planning in all types of sewage disposal situations. Local municipalities are largely responsible for administering the Act 537 sewage facilities program. To assist local municipalities in fulfilling this responsibility, the DEP provides technical assistance, financial assistance, and oversight.

The Planning Process Municipalities are required to develop and implement comprehensive official plans that provide for the resolution of existing sewage disposal problems, provide for the future sewage disposal needs of new land development; and provide for future sewage disposal needs of the municipality. This official plan is sometimes called the "base" plan or the "Act 537 plan." When a new land development project is proposed, municipalities are required to revise their official plan (unless the project is exempt from planning).