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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Where are we now? The Three-pronged Assault
The Legal Assault
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).