Township Considers Video Inspection Law for Sewers

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Draft local law proposed by the Lower Pottsgrove Authority to require home sellers to video camera check their sewer connections to find leaks or groundwater infiltration before real estate deals are closed was approved on Tuesday, Sept. 7th ) approved, 2021) by the municipal council.

The law would also require homeowners in private housing developments to have similar video work done every 10 years.

Both measures could save the community thousands of dollars in water purification costs paid to the Pottstown district, said government engineer Fred Ebert. On the side are the pipe connections between the property and the municipal sewerage networks.

Groundwater inflow and infiltration, often simply referred to as “I and I”, denotes rain and other natural water that seeps into the ground and then enters the sewerage system through cracks and holes in the connecting pipes. When the otherwise clean “I and I” mixes with wastewater, it must be treated at Pottstown’s facilities.

Video footage could identify “me and me” entry points, and the proposed law would require that they be sealed or repaired before a property sale is completed. The elimination of “Me and I” reduces the volume of treatment, noted Ebert, keeps money in the township coffers and hopefully avoids higher wastewater charges in the years to come.

“It’s the most effective tool we can have” to cut the community’s wastewater costs, he said. Current law relies only on surface inspections and is far less thorough in finding “me and me” problems. The roughly $ 300 to $ 350 cost of getting a permit from a qualified plumber and taking the video exam would likely be paid out of the cost of real estate closings, Ebert suggested.

The cost of side repairs, if necessary, would be additional and range from $ 500 to $ 1,500, he speculated.

Statistics on annual home sales, as well as the experience of other Pennsylvania communities that already have such a law on their books, suggest the community could see treatment savings in three years or less. If the “I and I” are on the main sewer or beyond and not in the secondary sewer, the sewer system bears the costs for these repairs.

The commissioners generally liked what they heard. All five board members agreed to allow the agency’s attorney to work with the community attorney in writing and refine the proposed ordinance.

However, board chairman Bruce Foltz initially asked for assurances that video inspections would only be limited to the homes for which a sales contract is being fulfilled, or only every ten years for homes in private communities. “There are no witch hunts,” agreed Ebert. “We’re not going to look for anything” except under circumstances approved by the commissioners in the law.

The draft version could be ready for review within a month, said township manager Ed Wagner.

Photo from The Posts

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