Those residents who are not connected to the public sewer system are served by private on-lot septic systems that are regulated by the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act. The Township was mandated to require those property owners to have their on-lot septic system pumped, inspected and report the results of that inspection to the Township Office once every three years.The Township has divided the area into three districts and each year has a designated district whose property owners have to have this pumping, inspection and reporting completed even if they are not experiencing malfunctions. If you are unsure of the district you are in or the year you are required to have this completed, check with the Township Office.
What is On-Lot Sewage Disposal Systems Management?
Over 2,000 properties in Jackson Township rely upon on-lot sewage disposal systems for the proper treatment of wastewater. An on-lot sewage disposal system usually consists of a buried tank to capture solids and grease and a drain field for disposal of the remaining liquid. Although an on-lot sewage disposal system is a very simple and relatively inexpensive way to treat wastewater, it must be maintained to be long-lasting and trouble free. Jackson Township has established a program to ensure that all property owners follow a few simple procedures to keep their on-lot sewage disposal systems properly maintained by periodic inspections and removal of accumulated solids from septic tanks.
Why is an Ordinance needed?
Many people do not really think about septic tanks, which are usually out of sight and out of mind. Sometimes, it is only after problems arise; such as sewage backups, contaminated wells, or problems in selling a home; that attention is paid to septic systems. The majority of the properties in Jackson Township with septic systems also have on-lot wells for drinking water. Failure to properly maintain a septic system can lead to premature failure of the septic system, contamination of area drinking water wells, and transmission of waterborne diseases. It is the Township’s desire to help ensure that groundwater resources remain clean and safe for drinking.
The costs to repair and/or replace a failing on-lot septic system can be very substantial expenses that may be delayed or avoided altogether with proper septic system maintenance. The construction of a replacement sand mound requires adequate soils and space, but many lots do not have either. In addition, the extension of public sewer to the more remote and rural areas of the Township is not an economically feasible way to handle wastewater from individual residences. The ordinance requiring the routine and regular maintenance is part of the Township's effort to reduce the need for and cost of replacement systems, to delay the extension of public sewers and to protect our environment.
What are the property owners’ responsibilities under the program?
All septic system owners must have their septic tanks pumped out and inspected at least once every three years. The Township has been divided into three geographic sections for the purpose of administering the program. All septic system owners in a given section will receive notices from the Township at the beginning of a year directing them to have their systems pumped during that calendar year. Property owners must contract with a pumper/hauler (licensed by the York County Solid Waste and Refuse Authority) of their choice to have the system pumped and inspected during the calendar year the notice is received. The notice will include a sample form (York County Sludge/Septage Manifest and Report Form) to be completed by the pumper/hauler regarding the condition of the tank and disposal of the septage. It will be the responsibility of the pumper/hauler to provide a copy of the completed form to the Township and to the property owner.
What if I want to have my system pumped more frequently than every 3 years?
You are free to have your system pumped out more frequently than once every three years. However, the ordinance requires that a copy of the York County Sludge/Septage Manifest report be fully completed and forwarded to the Township by the pumper/hauler each time a septic tank is emptied.
What if I believe that pumping every three years is too frequent for my system?
The on-lot sewage disposal system management ordinance provides for pumping intervals greater than once every three years when the septic system owner can demonstrate to the Township Sewage Enforcement Officer that the system does and will operate properly without the need for pump-out for a period longer than three years. In no case shall the period extend beyond six years. Such a request for extension of the pumping frequency may only be made after the initial pumping and inspection required by the Ordinance has taken place. The request must be made in writing to the Township with all supporting documentation attached. The Township Sewage Enforcement Officer will determine if an exemption can be granted based on such factors as system design and conditions, tank size, number and type of connected plumbing fixtures, connected household size, historical pumping frequency, and other factors the Township Sewage Enforcement Officer may consider pertinent.
What if a problem is found by the pumper during the inspection?
If the report form indicates a problem with the system, the Township will forward the form to the Township Sewage Enforcement Officer to investigate. The Sewage Enforcement Officer will contact the property owner to schedule for a time to investigate the problem. The Township Sewage Enforcement Officer is a fully trained professional who will work with the property owner to resolve the problem. Sometimes the solutions involve simple, inexpensive steps that do not require modification to the septic system. However, in other cases the solution may require system modification or replacement . The Township Sewage Enforcement Officer will consider all feasible alternatives before issuing a repair or replacement notice.
What will happen if I do not comply with the ordinance?
The Township Supervisors hope all Township citizens will fully comply with the provisions of the ordinance. The ordinance has been developed to protect public health, the water resources of the Township, and the investment of property owners in their on-lot systems. All on-lot sewage disposal system owners must comply with the ordinance in order for these goals to be reached. If you do not comply with any provision of this ordinance, you will be cited by the Township and shall be subject to proceedings before the District Justice. Upon conviction by the District Justice, you will be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 plus all court costs, or imprisonment. Each day’s continuance of a violation constitutes a separate offense. This penalty provision is similar to the penalty provisions of other Township ordinances.