In response to LPVRSA’s Campaign to Misinform:
Lower Perkiomen Valley Regional Sewer Authority (LPVRSA) recently hired a public relations firm, using rate payer’s money in a campaign to distribute misinformation to the public in regards to the construction of a small portion of the Middle Interceptor project (MI). In the recent article published on 9/24/12 by the Times Herald, Mr. Feio, Bob Brant and “lpvrsa officials” were quoted numerous times with inaccurate information.
After only the first few sentences of the article, editor Carl Rotenberg quotes the “authority’ as saying that the construction of the “middle section has been held up for several years by a small group of residents who with the support of Lower Providence Township(LPT) oppose the location of part of the middle section”.
This is an outrageous statement with no merit. Construction of the Middle Interceptor could not even begin until the upper section was completed. The upper section of the Perkiomen Creek Interceptor project had numerous environmental violations due to lack of compliance which resulted in pollution of our waterways, numerous fines, and construction delays, none of which had anything to do with the resident’s opposition.
Residents and LPT are concerned about a small 1/8 of a mile section of the 9 mile Middle Interceptor which would run through Lower Providence township and wreck havoc on a much used recreation area that is home to endangered species , wetlands, and rare prehistoric Native American artifacts. LPT is seeking a more environmentally sound location that would implement best cost practices. LPVRSA continues to oppose LPT’s preservation efforts and has through faults of their own, impeded the construction of the Middle Interceptor.
LPVRSA refuses to compromise with the rerouting of the tiny portion of the Middle Interceptor and thwarts LPT’s green initiative efforts by insinuating the rerouting would not benefit the “65,000 residential and commercial users of the sewer”.
The preservation of one our nations waterways will always contribute to a global benefit, however LPVRSA’s disregard for its largest contributing Regional member could have enormous ramifications for all the Regional’s customers if LPVRSA’s antagonistic behavior incites LPT to consider steps to remove itself from the Regional Sewer Authority, thus causing sewer rates to double or even triple on the remaining customers.
Parse’s manager Barbara Cepko was quoted in the article as saying that “DEP approved the location before the design was ever done”, but failed to include the additional information that the sewer line location was not approved on the LP side but was approved to run parallel to the existing pipe in previously disturbed areas in the preexisting right away on the Upper Providence side of the creek. . In fact, DEP returned LPVRSA’s application for a permit because they were trying to put the sewer line in a location inconsistent with their approved Act 537 plan.
Cepko goes on to say LPVRSA spent millions of dollars on engineer planning and would not have done that without DEP’s prior approval. The $2.3 million dollars that Cepko said was spent on engineer plans was for the entire 9 mile Middle Interceptor (MI), not just the small area of dispute.
r. Feio of LPVRSA states that DEP approved the Authority’s ACT 537 plan in Feb. 2004 but Mr. Feio failed to mention the approval did not include permission to change the location of the 48”sewer pipe without following proper protocol.
Feio also states that DEP has required the revising of their Act 537 plan simply because of “so much time passing” when in fact DEP’s decision was initiated because of LPVRSA’s action of deviating from the official approved Act 537 plan and their attempt to force a sewer line on a fellow member municipality when other alternatives are available.
DEP is also requiring LPVRSA to perform an alternative analysis for the section of the MI that is in dispute as part of their Act 537 Plan update, however LPVRSA has refused to hire a third party engineer even though DEP strongly recommended it.
LPVRSA’s solicitor Bob Brant refers to obtaining 40 easements for the entire Middle Interceptor. However, the easements taken in the Arcola section of the MI were condemned and taken without first being approved in the official Act 537 plan.
Mr. Brant lists 2 family’s names in the newspaper article that have not been condemned yet by the sewer authority. Brant labels these families as ‘being part of the opposition: These families homes have been passed down from generation to generation and are in the direct path of the sewer line and in risk of being destroyed. As American citizens it is our constitutional right to defend our land! To date LPVRSA cannot condemn their land unless the location is approved in the updated 537 plan.
LPT and DEP have suggested a route that will spare both Upper Providence’s and Lower Providence’s side of the Perkiomen Creek watershed and would not involve anyone’s home or land being condemned. To date there is no actual cost estimate for this suggested sewer route yet many have casted speculation. LPVRSA refuses to hire a third party independent engineer to do an accurate unbiased study.
Neither the residents nor LPT dispute the eventual need for more sewer capacity in the future and are constantly forced to defend themselves from the accusations of LPVRSA that there is a plot to stop the project. The project could be built today in the DEP approved location in Upper Providence.
Mr. Feio and other lpvrsa officials have attempted repeatedly to minimize the amount of public outcry to save this section of the Perkiomen Creek Watershed, misinforming the public regardless of the facts.
Over the past 3 years countless residents attended LPVRSA’s monthly board meetings and announced their name, address and opposition to the location of the sewer line in attempt to stop the false propaganda. Signed petitions against the sewer location were provided several times. Lpvrsa officials are also aware of a rally that took place at Hoy Park where hundreds of people came out to protest the sewer location and protect the land. Clean Water Action, a large influential environmental agency has voiced their opposition several times along with providing signed petitions from their members. So why do Mr. Feio and solicitor bob Brant continue to tell the public there are only a few residents who oppose?
LPVRSA continues to spend rate payer’s money fighting needless litigations, unnecessary condemnations, and hiring Public Relations firms instead of applying common sense and sound budget reform in seeking an alternative that works.
This land was never supposed to be considered for this construction project. Too many errors of judgment and not playing by the rules have brought the residents of this community and LPT unwarranted hardship. We did not choose it. We are the victims of injustice and have been unfairly burdened with 3yrs of turmoil and ridicule by the continual threat and actions of LPVRSA,
. Life along the Perkiomen Creek is unique and treasured by all who experience it. Please help us in the battle to save it.