"Our main concern is to eliminate the on-site systems," such as septic tanks, Cicippio said, because such systems can cause a health hazard if improperly maintained.
"We want to eliminate those systems before they become a problem," he said.
Cicippio said he expected the debt to be repaid with revenues generated by permit and service fees from new sewer subscribers. He said he anticipated no increase in sewer-service rates to residents.
The Sewer Authority's first move will be to lay pipe in the Mile Hill area, off Ridge Pike in the Skippack Creek drainage basin.
Neighborhoods scheduled for the subterranean expansion, Cicippio said, are along Old Baptist Road; Theresa, Baker and Washington Streets; Caswell Avenue; and Wilson Boulevard. Stretches of Grange Avenue and Visitation Road also will get sewer lines.
Construction blueprints for the Mile Hill area project are complete, he said. Advertising for bids for the project will be in January; the first backhoe is expected to be digging through the pavement in March. The project will bring sewer lines to 262 homes.
Residents are not required to hook up to the sewer mains, and they must contract with a plumber to run waste-water lines from their homes into the system.
Future construction in the Mine Run drainage basin in the eastern section of the township and the Schuylkill drainage basin in the southern section will
allow 300 more homes to hook up.
By the end of the $8.5 million construction project, the Sewer Authority
plans to have lines running through most of the township, Cicippio said.
There was a building moratorium in Lower Providence from 1979 through 1987
because the sewage-treatment facility in Oaks was overburdened.
Township engineers had designed a new plant in the late 1960s, said Supervisor Nancy McFarland, but Montgomery County officials opposed the idea.
"The county decided they didn't want a lot of plants along Perkiomen Creek," she said.
The Oaks plant was expanded in the mid-1980s. It now serves Lower Providence, Upper Providence, Perkiomen and Skippack Townships and Collegeville and Trappe Boroughs.