Homeowners ordered to pay $200k for sewer

October 6, 2011 2:52:14 PM PDT
A group of neighbors in Montgomery County are outraged after being ordered to pay more than $200,000 dollars to tap into the public sewer system.

The residents, on Middle Creek Road in New Hanover Township, were told they had to pay for the sewer work that they didn't ask for and don't want.

Three years ago, Jim and Lori Gamble spent $6,000 to install a new septic tank in the backyard of their new Hanover Township home and it's working just fine.

But now, the Gambles - and twelve of their neighbors along Middle Creek Road - have to come up with $22,000 each to connect their homes to a new public sewer line.

"Who wants to be strapped with something like that when they don't need it, don't want it, didn't sign anything for it and get not assistance for it and can't afford it. How can they force us to do this?" said Lori Gamble.

The foundation to the whole situation was laid back in the mid-1980's. That's when plans for the townhome development were approved. Back then, the township laid a new sewer line along Middle Creek Road. But, for a reason that no one remembers any more, it wasn't continued to the older homes down the street.

Last year, one of the neighbors' septic systems failed. The DEP refused a permit for a new one, forcing the township to extend the public line.

"DEP looks at it said 'If you're on that little line, that stretch of 13 homes, you need to hook up all 13 homes within 15 feet of the road," said Township Manager Ed Wagner.

The neighbors are upset that they have to bear the entire cost. Township officials say they couldn't find money in their own budget or from grants to ease the burden.

Instead, they're offering payment plans.

"We've offered a 10 year payment plan. The first five years are zero percent interest, and the next five years - with whatever the balance is - is one plus the existing prime rate," said Mike McGann, the wastewater system director.

For many of the neighbors, it's still too much money.

"It's a lot of extra money. That's like $360 [a month] for five years or $180 [a month] for 10 years," said resident Dave Nagle.

Residents who don't pay will have liens put against their properties beginning November first.

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