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LPVRSA Releases Official Position on Sewer Interceptor

In a recent document to its ratepayers, Lower Perkiomen Valley Regional Sewer Authority definitively responds to concerns Lower Providence has over the interceptor construction.

The Lower Perkiomen Valley Regional Sewer Authority (LPVRSA) wants to complete its upgrade project for a new Perkiomen Interceptor, which will affect all of its 65,000 ratepayers in the six-municipality service region.

However, some residents of Lower Providence Township, as well as Township officials, oppose its construction through a portion of Hoy Park and the backyards of several Lower Providence homes along the Perkiomen Creek.

This area in Lower Providence is known in the LPVRSA project as the Middle Interceptor. This area would be the final stage in completing the project, as its upper and lower stages of the interceptor were constructed in 2007.

The Middle Interceptor stage had an October 2011 estimated completion date.

On Sept. 18, the LPVRSA released a document, addressing all ratepayers, in which the regional sewer authority provided its comprehensive guide to all facts concerning the project [See media gallery to read the document].

The document, which was signed by Robert Fieo, LPVRSA chairman, who represents Upper Providence on the LPVRSA Board, focuses on the opposition and concerns of the project, particularly claims made by Lower Providence and its residents over the project's 10-year history.

“Unfortunately, the middle section has been held up for several years by a small group of residents, who with the support of Lower Providence Township, oppose the location of part of the middle section,” Fieo writes in the document. “These actions have delayed a vitally needed project that will impact economic development and help promote real progress in our region.”

According to a Times Herald article, Lower Providence Township approved of a resolution to opposing the location of the sewer interceptor in 2010.

The article states that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had approved of the location prior to its design.

The middle sewer interceptor will run from the Collegeville Inn to where the Perkiomen and Skippack creeks meet, near Hoy Park. The distance is approximately 17,500-feet.

Speaking to Patch in a previous article, Lower Providence Township Manager Richard Gestrich said that the township suggested constructing an Arcola Road Pump Station as an alternative to the sewer interceptor.

He explained that the pump station would prevent environmental and historical damage that may be caused from an interceptor construction, adding that the state may consider Hoy Park as a valuable archeological site.

Furthermore, several homes along the Perkiomen Creek, would have to allow easements through their backyards for the interceptor construction. While some Lower Providence residents have been reported to allow the easements, two families have become resolute in their oppossition. 

However, the LPVRSA document states that alternatives have been reviewed and found that the sewer interceptor, a gravity-propelled system, was the best option for such considerations.

The document also states that five of the six municipalities on the LPVRSA Board, are in full support of the interceptor and location. 

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The following are the list of claims made by Lower Providence residents opposing the interceptor and the LPVRSA responses, as found in the LPVRSA Sept. 18 document: 

Claim #1:

The middle interceptor is not necessary and is only being built to accommodate the Graterford Prison.

Answer:

This is false. The need for the middle interceptor was established more than 10 years ago, long before any proposals were made to connect the Graterford Prison.

 

Claim #2:

The construction will destroy the creek for boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities.

Answer:

Again, this is false. There will be minimal interruption of summer activities on the creek during construction and none after the completion of the construction.

 

Claim #3:

The area will be a barren wasteland after construction.

Answer:

False. Restored areas in locations along previously constructed interceptors have grown in. (see photos on web site [http://www.lpvrsa.org/]).

 

Claim #4:

Two homes on the Arcola Road side of the Perkiomen Creek will be destroyed during the construction.

Answer:

No homes will be destroyed. Disturbed areas will be restored with grass and trees will be planted in the temporary construction easement areas.

 

Claim #5:

The construction will destroy a stone wall of unknown origin located between two back yards in the Arcola Road area.

Answer:

The wall may be preserved by directional boring under the wall.

 

Claim #6:

Manholes located on the property line of several back yards have the potential for overflow and contaminating land and the creek.

Answer:

Manholes will be water tight and bolted down to prevent overflows.

 

Claim #7:

Manholes will pollute. A pump station and force main – a proposed alternative - will not.

Answer:

Pump stations are not the answer here because they:

  • Cost millions more to build Require the purchase or condemnation of land and access road to the site
  • Require fuel to operate, and emergency backup power when electric power is down
  • Require additional personnel to operate and maintain Have high costs to replace pumps, motors, etc.
  • Have additional costs to expand for future growth.
  • Emit noise, odors, and do not present an aesthetically pleasing view in someone’s yard.
  • Have a greater potential for overflows and pollution (Three pump stations owned and operated by Lower Providence have overflowed and contaminated creeks multiple times over the last several years).

 

Claim #8:

Manholes for this project will be ugly and cumbersome, extending 12 feet high out of the ground.

Answer:

Manholes will extend only 18 inches above grade. The tall manholes in the video composed by the opponents and shown to the public do not belong to LPVRSA.

 

Claim #9:

It will take two years to construct the section of the middle interceptor in the area near Arcola Road.

Answer:

It will take approximately six months to construct the 2,700 linear feet of pipe and the two stream crossings near the Arcola Road properties.

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For more on the story:

  • Perkiomen Board Reverses Regional Sewer Authority Vote
  • Regional Sewer Authority to Elected Officials: 'Bug Out'
  • LowPro Twp. Manager Responds to Perkiomen Twp. Sewer Authority Vote
  • Local Officials Support LowPro’s Concern’s over Sewer Interceptor
  • The Resident's Story (A Patch Blog from a Lower Providence resident.)
J September 26, 2012 at 11:52 PM
It sounds to me like a lot of tax payer money was spent to try and avoid having the interceptor put it. False info was clearly given by the residents and the township to try and stop it. Maybe a township with a budget deficit as high as Lower Providence should look into spending their money a little more wisley on services for their tax payers and travelers, instead of blowing it on false claims to stop someones grass from temporarily being dug up and projects to "beautify" Ridge Pike.
Olivia September 27, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Why hasn't anyone from the Patch or the local newspapers ever talked to any of the residents on the OTHER side of the creek for any of these articles about the sewer? I heard if they put a pump station in like the people in Lower Providence want, the sewer authority will have to condemn some poor guy's ENTIRE HOME in Upper Providence. That's a little more permanent than growing a patch of grass back. Is there any curiosity left in our media at all? Or do they just print what they are spoon fed by the people with agendas?
Brittany Tressler (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Olivia - I'm the local editor of a neighboring Patch (across the river) - Here is an article from the perspective of Perkiomen Township (http://patch.com/A-wL67) and Skippack Township (http://patch.com/A-vYwh) regarding the sewer, and one from the LPVRSA (http://patch.com/A-wLS9).
Olivia September 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Brittany, I'm glad that other voices besides the ones from Lower Providence are being reported on, but I still see a big gaping hole in the coverage of this dispute. I challenge you to find anyone in the local media who has even bothered to ask the opinions of the people on the Oaks side of the creek who will be affected if LP gets their way. And no one in the press has asked how much this dispute will end up costing the people who get their sewer service from LPVRSA. Of course, you could be the first to do that.
Ida Marre September 29, 2012 at 02:26 PM
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Ida Marre September 29, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Just for your information, the regional sewer authority (LPVRSA) has hired a public relations firm to spread their misinformation at thousands of dollars of cost to us ratepayers. This is wasted money, it is no different than them taking out TV advertisments to tell us how good they treat our sewage. What a waste to all of us. I have friends on both sides of the Perky and they all agree on the pump around on Arcola Rd in Lower Providence. This route would be the least destructive, I saw first hand the destruction cause by the upper inteceptor construction, the Regional members should all hang their heads in shame! Please go talk to the folks along the Perky on both sides and get the real story, not take some PR firm's misformation for granted. They are being paid to lie to you.
Olivia September 30, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Since I have a good many friends on the Oaks side of the creek, I know that not everyone agrees with you Ida Marre. There are two bigger outrages to me than the use of ratepayer money to pay a PR firm. First is that no one in the press has even talked to the people on the Oaks side of the creek and that the LPVRSA has had to hire a PR firm to counter the one-sided story being presented in the local press. Second, and more outrageous, is the hundreds of thousands of ratepayer dollars that have been spent defending against LP's lawsuits. I believe there are two sides to every story. We've all heard LP's side a million times. I'm just wondering why there is such a huge effort to keep the other side from being heard.
Catherine Beyer September 30, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Nobody livse on the "Oaks side" its just rock.That is where the original interceptor is and is where the 'approved' replacement was to go. Why do you think the original one was put there back in 1972? Maybe because people cared about private property and property rights back then? - You just didn't go blasting thru private citizens back yards if you don't have to- plus just like I said before , its just rock over there- it doesn't flood and erosion like on 'our side'- but lpvrsa does not want you to know that- they keep referring to the sewer running on the LP side as the "original plan", Its all lies- DEP never approved the sewer on the LP side in this little section- the ENTIRE Perkiomen Creek interceptor was designed to run parrallel to the exisitng interceptor in previously disturbed areas- so no new disturbance! lpvrsa is the one who tried to sneak it over on lp side BUT THEY GOT CAUGHT! That is what's holding up this project now- DEP is making them redo the plan if they want a NEW location other then what was approved on the Upper providence side of the creek they have an approved plan already!- But just for FYI, LP and the residents want to save both side of the Perkiomen Watershed- because we really care about the 'whole picture"
Olivia September 30, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Catherine, I think it's going to come as a great big surprise to the folks who live on the Oaks side that they don't actually live there. You made a bunch of pretty strong accusations against LPVRSA here and on your blog post. I'm just wondering, what is the motivation for LPVRSA to lie about this? What do they get out of it? Seems to me that if your way was really the "best" way, it would be a pretty easy decision for them to make. Why would the members put up with all this bad publicity, character assassination, lawsuits and threats when they could just do what you say is best and make this whole thing go away? And, is the Patch prepared to stand by the bold accusations you made, because I didn't see any disclaimer accompanying your recent blog post.
Catherine Beyer October 01, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Hi Olivia, I am just a resident who loves the Perkiomen Creek very much. I have lived on the Perki all my life along with my parents and my brother who are now with the Lord; Now I have grandchildren who live here and love it just as much. That is my motivation. Your comments feel alittle like you are trying to intimidate me and the Patch,com. I hope you believe in our constitutional rights. I'm just trying to tell the truth as I have been told by DEP and by lpvrsa ITSELF. - lpvrsa knows the truth.. Ask them point blank if DEP approved the sewer line to go on Lp side between Hoy Park and Cider Mill bridge. Ask DEP. Thank you for asking what motivation lpvrsa would have to lie about this, that is the question we have all been asking. And I don't have a "best" way for the sewer. I'm not an engineer, but DEP has suggested away that would have less impact and could be approved right away, they suggested it as a compromise, LP said they would agreed to it but lpvrsa won't even consider it. again don't ask me why ego maybe? sure hope not Just curious though, why not comment about the "bold accusations of "J" who actually accused the residents and the township of giving false information? isn't that the same as saying we lied? Why not ask about the disclaimer for that blog? I thank God there are laws in place to protect us from governments coming in and taking our land without proper authority and agencies protecting our environment. God bless America!
Catherine Beyer October 01, 2012 at 01:06 AM
more research would help you understand- there are no houses on the Oaks side,
Catherine Beyer October 01, 2012 at 01:24 AM
What's more important then a township protecting it's residents, it's Parks and recreational waterways? LP has done nothing but what a township with integrity would do yet has received nothing but redicule for it.. so sad. Don't you think your township should or would do the same for you and your fellow neighbors if in the same situation?
Ida Marre October 01, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Dear Ms. Beyer: Olivia states "Second, and more outrageous, is the hundreds of thousands of ratepayer dollars that have been spent defending against LP's lawsuits" Where is the information to back this up? Once again more lies. I would not respond to Olivia's comments as I am sure that the new PR firm is using pseudo names to attack your credibility through this medium. Don't fall into their trap or be threatened by them. Just more bullying on their part, new folks same ole tactics.
Catherine Beyer October 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM
yes I agree- thank you Ida- I am not a 'political' person and have always upheld honesty and integrity- so my credibility remains intact and the truth will always prevail! Thanks :)
Olivia October 01, 2012 at 03:46 PM
All I am saying, Catherine, is that it's pretty strong to call what LPVRSA is saying "lies." It sounds to me like they and their engineers have come to a different conclusion than you have. You keep talking about "DEP says this" and "DEP says that" yet I have never seen DEP on record anywhere as endorsing what either party in this dispute is saying. I have a tough time getting to the conclusion that the sewer authority is "lying" when 5 of the 6 townships are on board with their proposal. That's an awful lot of "lying" in the service of one person's ego, don't you think? Unless you can tell me what horrible motives LPVRSA has for stomping all over the environment, sorry, but I'm just not buying your story.
Olivia October 01, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but I'm not from the LPVRSA's PR firm---though if it was worth the money they were paying, they should have had somebody watching this site and commenting. No, I'm afraid that Lower Providence doesn't have a monopoly on well informed "concerned citizens."
Catherine Beyer October 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Olivia, If you really want to know what is going on I would like to meet you in person to discuss this, I could show you the area and what were trying to save, maybe then you would understand, Can we meet?
Olivia October 01, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Ms. Beyer I appreciate the offer and the spirit in which it was given, but I'm not sure what that would accomplish. My whole reason for commenting on this article was because I feel that there is an entire side of this issue that is not being heard. And it still isn't. I admire your effectiveness as a spokesperson for your beliefs, but you haven't addressed any of the questions or concerns I have brought up and you've dismissed concerns from across the creek as irrelevant or worse. I think we would find very little common ground on which to begin what I'm sure would be a very one sided "discussion" of this issue. Your invitation to meet, while it may be well intended, only reinforces that you are not interested in listening, only speaking.
Ida Marre October 02, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Ms. Beyer: I hate to say I told you so, but Olivia doesn't exist! She will never come out of the closet so don't wates you time on her.
Olivia October 02, 2012 at 04:07 PM
And so it goes. How predictable. I must be a LIAR since I don't agree with you. Good luck with that "credibility" thing you have going on, ladies.
Catherine Beyer October 02, 2012 at 04:23 PM
well at least she admits that lpvrsa is 'stomping all over the environment"

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