Rockland supervisors hear sewage complaint

2/19/04

Special Thanks to The Derrick for Allowing this story to be Posted

A Rockland Station resident contends a holding tank on his neighbor's property wasn't installed according to regulations and likely will leak.

ROCKLAND - The Rockland Township supervisors held a special meeting Wednesday to address the complaints of a Rockland Station man.

Dan Reed, a Rockland Station resident and owner of the Towncryer Lodge, contends that a sewage holding tank on his neighbor's property was not installed according to DEP regulations and will likely leak.

The holding tank was installed last summer after someone sent the township a complaint contending that Reed's neighbor was not disposing of the waste from his compost toilet at his riverside camp correctly. The supervisors, Bill Propst, Terry Hunsberger and Chuck Vernum, contacted sewer enforcement officer Richard Palm to investigate the situation.

Palm said an investigation revealed that the complaint was indeed valid and he began to help the camp owner make a viable repair.

"There was gray water discharging over the hill and into the river," Palm said.

However, because the property is so small and close to Reed's home, Palm said there was no way that a viable repair could be made.

Palm said his only option was to recommend the installation of a holding tank. But the size of the property made it impossible to follow all DEP regulations and the tank was installed on a flood plain only feet from an existing water well.

Reed said he brought the problem to the township because he is worried that the tank was damaged during installation and its contents may seep into the well and the water table.

He then asked the supervisors to get a "second opinion" and have someone else check his neighbor's sewage system.

"I've had people leave the lodge because of the smell. It not only concerns me, it concerns my neighbors," he said.

After speaking with a DEP representative and meeting with the solicitor in executive session, the supervisors opted not to revoke the holding tank permit, but instead wait and check on the problem in the coming months.

The supervisors said they were confident that Palm made the best decision he could given the circumstances.

They also advised Reed that if he does experience problems with the smell or discharge in the future, he should contact them so it could be reviewed.

"If it's not taken care of I will call the media and my attorney," he told the supervisors.

"Let's see what turns out," Propst said.