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.
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:
The middle interceptor is not necessary and is only being built to accommodate the Graterford Prison.
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.
The construction will destroy the creek for boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities.
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.
The area will be a barren wasteland after construction.
Two homes on the Arcola Road side of the Perkiomen Creek will be destroyed during the construction.
No homes will be destroyed. Disturbed areas will be restored with grass and trees will be planted in the temporary construction easement areas.
The construction will destroy a stone wall of unknown origin located between two back yards in the Arcola Road area.
The wall may be preserved by directional boring under the wall.
Manholes located on the property line of several back yards have the potential for overflow and contaminating land and the creek.
Manholes will be water tight and bolted down to prevent overflows.
Manholes will pollute. A pump station and force main – a proposed alternative - will not.
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).
Manholes for this project will be ugly and cumbersome, extending 12 feet high out of the ground.
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.
It will take two years to construct the section of the middle interceptor in the area near Arcola Road.
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.
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.)