Sunday, August 30, 2015

DEP lifts ban on L. Bucks building permits

While new information about the capacity of a sewage pumping station is being reviewed, building permits can be issued.

DEP lifts ban on L. Bucks building permits

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A month-old ban on sewer hookups and building permits in most of Lower Bucks County has been lifted temporarily, the state Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday. 

The DEP lifted the ban affecting the 13 municipalities served by the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority on Wednesday, based on new information about the capacity of a sewage pumping station, DEP spokeswoman Deborah Fries said in a written statement.

The sewer authority, meanwhile, filed an appeal of the DEP’s June 26 ruling with the state Environmental Hearing Board on Thursday, authority spokesman Patrick Cleary said.

The DEP “misunderstood the information we provided,” Cleary said. “We still believe there is no hydraulic overload” of the Totem Road Pump Station.

Fries said the DEP considers the pump station and two major pipes to be “in projected hydraulic overload,” which would require “corrective action.”

But new building permits and sewer hookups can be issued while the DEP reevaluates the system's capacity, she said.

Meanwhile, the sewer authority has a Sept. 21 deadline to submit a Corrective Action Plan and a Connection Management Plan. The management plan is used "when a  system has more projected needs than projected capacity," Fries said. "to determine when and how new connections are made."

The DEP also is urging the municipalities to report pending construction projects to the sewer authority. 

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About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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