The Ligonier Township Municipal Authority (LTMA) discussed proposed changes made to its sewer rules and regulations at its meeting Wednesday.

Following the LTMA’s meeting on March 4, solicitor Dan Hudock, Barb McMillen of Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc. and authority manager Anthony “Griff” Griffith drafted changes to present to the LTMA.

The rules and regulations will include three exhibits — a rate schedule, application for service and construction specs.

Under the construction specs exhibit, a condition was discussed involving the three different kinds of testing that are being considered for when lateral sewer lines are connected: smoke, dye and pressure testing.

Griffith said he’s in favor of the pressure testing method for when lateral sewer lines are tied in, when there’s a sale of house or property transfer, or when the authority sees fit.

McMillen, however, expressed concern with pressure testing when there is a sale or transfer of a home.

“This area is old. There is a lot of old pipe in the ground,” she said. “What concerns me is if you do a pressure test — and I understand it’s not very high pressure — but you have a lot of summer homes on crawl spaces. You pressure test that line and it breaks, how are you going to replace it?”

Ultimately, Hudock said it’s the township’s decision regarding the timing of tests. He added that it’s the LTMA’s recommendation with regard to the method.

McMillen told the authority that she updated the sewer application to include a cell phone, email address and emergency contact.

Also in the construction specs exhibit, the board discussed whose responsibility it is to maintain newly-installed grinder pumps — the authority or property owner.

McMillen told the authority that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) might not allow a condition letting property owners maintain grinder pumps themselves.

Water system engineer Jake Bolby, of the EADS Group, agreed with McMillen.

“Whenever it comes down to a single or individual grinder pump, I haven’t ran into an instance where the DEP said you (the authority) now have to own it,” Bolby said. “But I know they would like the authorities to own all of them because they run into issues like with septic tanks where people fail to maintain them.”

Hudock noted that with the exhibits, the rules and regulations portion may be tweaked as needed without having to change the entire document.

Bolby also updated the authority on the LTMA’s water system improvements project, including the Timber Rattlesnake Habitat Survey. The authority awarded a bid to complete phase one of the survey to State College-based WHM Consulting, Inc. for $3,664.

Given that phase two must be completed between April 15 and May 15, the authority passed a motion permitting Griffith to tentatively approve phase two in the event of potential meeting cancellations because of coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions.

Bolby also provided an update on progress regarding a new water storage tank near Idlewild Park. He previously reported that the EADS Group informed Idlewild that it would need access to the property to complete a geotechnical survey and drilling to take survey points.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the authority awarded a bid to Triad Engineering Inc. for $9,336 with a not-to-exceed condition of $10,200 to complete the drilling. He noted that the “majority of costs is in the drilling,” adding that otherwise the design is “proceeding and on schedule at this point.”

The future tank is a major component of the series of planned water system improvements intended to manage water pressure throughout the LTMA system, reducing pressure in low-lying areas prone to leaks and increasing it at higher elevations.

In other business, the LTMA:

  • Heard from Hudock who informed the authority that future meetings could take place remotely amid coronavirus precautions. Hudock said that as long as authority members participate via speaker phone, it counts as attendance. He added that anyone from the public who wants to listen may be there to listen in on the call.
  • Heard from Hudock who said the LTMA received $2,000 from the sheriff’s office for a property that was sold at the January sheriff’s sale.

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