Cranberry area welcomes decision to extend sewers Residents long bothered by failed septic systems

July 02, 1998|By John Murphy | John Murphy,SUN STAFF

Residents of the Cranberry section in Westminster applauded yesterday the county's long-delayed decision to extend public sewer service to their neighborhood.

The $570,000 plan is designed to solve years of health and environmental problems caused by leaky, failed septic systems.

"The stream that flows behind my house has become so !B contaminated that nothing lives in it," Lester Stem, a lifelong Cranberry resident, told the County Commissioners during a public hearing on the plan yesterday afternoon. "I'm 100 percent for it."

Another resident awaiting the sewer system complained that he is spending $200 a month to maintain his failed septic system.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in a few months. The county will install a low-pressure sewer system extension for 19 homes along Old Manchester Road east of Lucabaugh Mill Road, just outside the northeast limits of Westminster. The extension will become part of the Westminster sewer system. The entire project should take about 18 weeks to complete.

For Cranberry residents, the sewer line will end eight years of waiting.

In 1990, the county Health Department conducted a survey of the Cranberry neighborhood, discovering a number of homes with failed septic systems -- some of which were leaking into nearby streams.

Other septic systems were outdated, some at least 30 years old. A system's life expectancy is 15 years, county officials said. In most cases, the systems were beyond repair.

The county decided that the neighborhood would need a sewer line to solve the problem.

But progress was slow as county officials worked on design changes and completed lengthy applications for state funding.

The bulk of the project will be funded by grants from the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the state Department of the Environment. The county will pay $115,000 in donated easements and connection and inspection fees.

All 19 Cranberry homeowners will be required to connect to the system and pay a $3,800 hook-up fee. The money will cover a $1,800 one-time sewer maintenance fee charged by Westminster, a water meter and the cost of closing the home's septic tank.

Some residents expressed concerns yesterday about the cost.

Bobbi Moser, the county planner overseeing the project, told residents that some of them might qualify for state assistance. Those who do not will be allowed to spread the hook-up costs over 20 years, Moser said.

Pub Date: 7/02/98

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