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Hamiltonban wastewater treatment plant sold, state order signed

(8/7) The Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at their August 6 meeting to sign a proposed state order to address the problematic Orrtanna wastewater treatment plant.

The treatment facility came under fire from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2010, the state agency claiming that the plant was deficient and was too old, and that the facility had to be upgraded to current standards.

The state also had issues with the spray-application of processed wastewater to designated spray fields.

As a result of the township board agreeing to sign a consent order agreement with the state DEP, the municipality will have 120 days to development and submit a plan with the state regarding the implementation of the order.

In signing the order, the board agrees to dismantle the existing wastewater treatment plant, close existing detention ponds, and end the spraying of wastewater, as well as to build a pumping station and transmission lines to connect to a facility in Franklin Township.

Board Chairman Robert L. Gordon was not exactly thrilled with the terms of the state’s demands, stating, “I’ve been struggling with this thing. I have a problem (with some of the terms) but I know they won’t change it.”

“The document gives away everything (controls to the state). We’re giving them a blank check,” he stated, adding, “We’re at a critical point now where we need to do something (to address the Orrtanna plant’s issue).”

As the township reviewed its options after being contacted by DEP in 2010, Hamiltonban was approached by Franklin Township, also seeking to dispose of their wastewater facility, to partner in the sale of both township plants, and to allow Hamiltonban to send its wastewater to a proposed new Franklin Township treatment plant.

Hamiltonban has been approved for a $496,500 H2O grant to apply towards the construction of the proposed pumping station and the infrastructure needed to get the wastewater to Franklin.

The board also confirmed at their August 6 meeting that the Pennsylvania America Water Company, Hershey, has agreed to pay Hamiltonban more than $339,000 for the existing facility and its associated infrastructure. The township will keep the former spray fields, which amounts to some 30 acres of land.

As a result of that sale, the Pennsylvania America Water Company will ultimately take-over wastewater management in the township.

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