Legislators Seek Delay on New On-Lot Sewage Regulations

Area legislators and others from across the state have asked Governor Corbett and Acting DEP Secretary Christopher Abruzzo to delay implementation of new regulations aimed at reducing nitrate levels for on-lot sewage systems until public hearings can be held to receive community input on the matter.

This action resulted after local elected officials, small business owners, farmers, tourism groups, real estate professionals, and landowners from across Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties expressed their concerns about the proposed policy. The change would apply to new or replacement residential or commercial on-lot system installations located in High Quality (HQ) or Exceptional Value (EV) watersheds.

Residents in this region have worked very hard to preserve their protected water designations, as the environmental value of protected waterways is paramount to an economy based on recreational tourism. Community leaders fear that the cost of meeting these proposed new restrictions will be highly prohibitive, crippling the development of new housing communities, prohibiting existing businesses from expanding and making new commercial construction nearly impossible.

Sewage enforcement officers and county planners have asserted that the proposed DEP policy offers an unreasonable approach to water quality protection and fails to utilize science-based techniques. Their analysis includes several studies conducted in northeastern Pennsylvania that show that water quality has improved over the past several decades. They also point to a lack of increased nitrates, despite an increase in residential and commercial development within special protected watersheds.

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Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931