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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Newsmax Columnist Rants Against Sewer Hookups
Topic: Newsmax

Chris Freind rants in a July 2 Newsmax column:

“Obamacare” is about to be referenced, even though today’s topic is not about healthcare. So for those opposed, don’t immediately use this column as toilet paper.
The Supreme Court ruled Obamacare constitutional on the grounds that it was a tax. Had it been a mandatory purchase, it would not have passed legal muster.
Which makes the situation occurring in towns nationwide absolutely mind-blowing. Local governments, often via their Sewer Authorities, have been mandating residents pay huge out-of-pocket costs to connect to public sewer systems, even if one’s septic system is working flawlessly.
In other words, you are required by duty-to-connect ordinances to shell out big bucks for something you might not want, need, nor can afford (despite already paying substantial taxes). In most cases, there are no opt-outs, negotiations, exceptions. You buy in, or else.

A case in middle-class suburban Philadelphia provides a vivid example of this mammoth government overreach.

Several years ago, paternalistic leaders decided they wanted public sewers. So they enacted ordinances requiring residents to participate in what amounted to a double-whammy.

It doesn't take a lot of sleuthing to figure out where in "middle-class suburban Philadelphia" -- a different version of Freind's column in the Delaware County Times identifies the municipality as Upper Providence Township in Delaware County, Pa.

Freind fails to mention that failing septic tanks have been a longstanding issue in the area. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1990:

Take a walk through parts of suburban Upper Providence Township on a warm summer afternoon and chances are you'll encounter more than just the smell of flowers.

And watch your step. That water flowing over some streets and driveways isn't coming from natural springs.

It's coming from failed septic tanks.

Upper Providence has a widespread problem with failed or failing septic systems, according to a preliminary engineering report on the need for sewers in the township.

More than 125 township residents turned out Monday night for a special public hearing on the report.

The study concluded that 33 percent of the septic systems in the township have failed or are likely to fail soon and another 25 percent are only marginally operational, said David Linaham, a sanitary engineer for Yerkes Associates, which prepared the report.

The Inquirer also noted that the population density in some parts of the township makes it increasingly difficult to repair failing septic systems. That same population density also makes installation of sewer lines more cost-effective, so it makes sense in both the short term and long term for every property in the vicinity of a new line to be required hook up. Not only does it make sense as a community responsibility, it arguably lowers the value of a property if it's not connected to an adjacent sewer line.

Has Freind ever lived next to a property with a failed septic tank? We suspect not.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 PM EDT

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