Weather stalls Oil Creek Township sewer project

By JON HAAGStaff writer

February weather has stalled the Oil Creek Township, Venango County sewer project and some residents are in dismay over some of the finer details of the expansion.

The expansion project, which broke ground Aug. 22, 2016, looks to hook Oil Creek Township residents into a new sewer expansion with grinder pumps and taps.

Residents who participated paid approximately $1,000 for the grinder pump and tap, according to township supervisor Keith Klingler. This figure does not include the amount of line that needs to be run from the road to the pump.

Klingler warned that figure may skyrocket after the project is completed, estimating that installation would then cost approximately $10,000.

The project in its entirety is projected to cost $2,564,867 under a 38-year loan the township used. Supervisors broke that figure down to $8,814 per dwelling but later recalculated to $9,421 per dwelling, allegedly due to fewer properties opting in than originally anticipated. Oil Creek Township pays approximately $17,040 a month on loans.

Klingler estimated the project to be approximately 50 percent complete.

The township has eliminated 10 taps from a proposed 18 after finding out that some properties don’t have or need running water thus negating the need for an expensive expansion to their lines. Engineers on the project originally surveyed taps by guessing whether the buildings appeared to be dwelled in.

“Why would we want to spend money putting a tap in that we will never see a dime from,” Klingler said.

The township was provided with an estimate pricing the taps at $6 a month but are now expecting the fee to be substantially higher.

“We won’t know for sure until everyone is connected,” Klingler said.

So far, five properties have connected to the sewer expansion out of 97 connection notices the township sent out. Of those, 21 have already paid for their grinder pump and tap.

Residents at the meeting argued back and forth with township secretary Amy Cherry about whether or not they should pay for two taps because of the subdivision of their property and whether businesses would have to pay more if they had more employees.

“It’s got to be fair across the board,” Cherry said.

Klingler agreed, adding that the taps had not been properly thought out.

“There’s no real guidelines for this sort of thing, so it’s up to us. When it comes to public systems, what is a viable tap, they’re not telling us,” he said.

Klingler said the township would seek to make a ruling at their next meeting with a document that will detail guidelines for the taps and pumps.

The project was engineered by Stiffler McGraw Northwest of Titusville.