So, you’re thinking about switching to a public sewer system rather than your on-lot septic system. That sounds like a great idea. There are some advantages to being able to connect to a public system such as low maintenance and no repairs. However, the process, depending on the location of the existing sewer main, can be rather time-consuming and expensive or quick and painless.

The first step in this process would be to find out if you have the potential to connect to an existing sewer main located near your property. An easy check for this is to call the Township and see if a sewer connection is available. If yes, then you are off to a great start. Next would be to locate the area where the sewer tie in would occur. If there is a sewer main located within proximity to the house in a Township road, it could be a quick process. If not, things can get tricky. Say the existing sewer main ends at a manhole in the road several properties away from yours. The Township could require a sewer main extension from that manhole to your property to make sewer available for the neighboring properties if they are not already connected. The Township will require some sort of plan submission for their review and approval for the Sewer Permit. This could require some survey work on and off your property depending on what the Township wants to see. They will also require you to pay for tie in fees.

Now you notice that this existing sewer main is located in the PennDOT Right-Of-Way. That would require a Utility Highway Occupancy Permit as well as the Township Permit. No problem, PennDOT approves these all the time. But wait, what about this stream you must cross to get to the existing sewer main? This would require a General Permit 5 from DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). They will also require a fee and a separate plan submission, but more importantly, could lengthen the process. A PNDI will need to be submitted to check whether if there are any threatened and endangered species, and special concern species located in the area. If the PNDI comes back clear and there are no issues, then no further action is needed for DEP except for the General Permit 5. If there is a hit on the PNDI, some more time will need to be put into ways to protect whatever hit comes about.

Finally, after receiving all the necessary permits, the installation of your sanitary line can commence. Although this process could possibly take months and months, the end result can be very beneficial for you, your family and your property. Please contact D.L. Howell with any questions on converting from on-lot septic system septic to public sewer.