Sanitary Sewer-Commissioner Jan Cabaday
Lawrence Park Township owns and maintains over 88,700 linear feet of sanitary sewer lines, manholes and three lift stations.
The Township is committed to an assertive program of maintaining and rehabilitating the sanitary sewer lines. Past projects have minimized inflow and infiltration (I&I), which is storm water entering the sanitary sewer lines, in key areas of the Township. Minimizing I&I reduces the amount of storm water in the wastewater or sewage transported to the treatment plant. I&I can occur when a residential sewer connection breaks and ground water enters the sanitary sewers. Likewise, storm sewers can develop leaks and allow “clean” water to enter the ground to be picked up by leaky sanitary sewer lines. Storm water can increase the amount of sewage sent to the wastewater treatment plant, thereby, increasing costs.
Past sewer projects have replaced pipe, slip lined pipes and reconstructed manholes. The mains, manholes and lift stations (transports the wastewater through the lines) are routinely inspected and repaired to minimize any sewer problems. Main lines have been inspected by sending a video camera through them to show any potential problems and during past projects some lines have been dye or smoke tested.
The wastewater is transported and treated at the Erie Wastewater Treatment Plant. These costs for treatment and transportation are in addition to normal maintenance costs, and major renovation projects, and are paid by the consumer on a quarterly sewer bill. In addition to treating sewage, the Township also pays to transport sewage to the treatment plant and contributes to capital projects that allows the plant to receive and treat other municipalities’ sewage. Approximately 42% of the Township’s sewer expenses are to the City of Erie for these items.
The treatment and transportation charges assessed by the City are based on a leased capacity for all communities, including Lawrence Park, who send sewage for treatment. Lawrence Park leases capacity to handle four million gallons per day (MGD) and has, subsequently, leased additional capacity from Harborcreek Township. Part of the agreement with the City of Erie provides for substantial surcharges if the leased capacity is exceeded. The cost to treat sewage will continue to increase. The only way for the Township to control these expenses is to control the amount of sewage sent for treatment. That means continuing to improve the sewer system infrastructure, eliminating illegal connections and making sure downspouts channel water into the storm sewers only.
Sanitary Sewer Back-ups
The Township is responsible for maintenance of the sewer mains running parallel to the street. Property owners are responsible for the lateral running from the house to the sewer main.
If you are experiencing a sewer back up, call the Township Office (899-2305) between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or after business hours call the Police Department (898-1634) when it is occurring. The contractor can check the main and if the problem resides there, the Township will correct the problem. If, however, the main is running free and clear the problem is in the lateral and you will need to call a plumber.
Back-ups most commonly occur from tree roots in either the lateral or main line, or from any solid item such as disposable diapers, undissolved grease, plastic toys, etc., blocking the line. In row houses, there are usually two sewer laterals servicing six to eight homes and a back-up in one home can affect the other homes.
In the storm water system, the Township is responsible for maintenance of over 33,000 linear feet of storm sewer pipes and over 300 inlets.
If a catch basin is clogged or flooding, please call the Township office at 814-899-2305 during business hours or the Police Department at 814-898-1634 after business hours so the contractor may be notified of the problem.