Sewer deal ends dispute that halted Bucks development

Posted: March 12, 2014

BUCKS COUNTY A dispute that disrupted development in lower Bucks County was resolved Monday, as the state and a county sewer agency announced an agreement to allow new sewer hookups for 13 municipalities for the first time since 2012.

The agreement comes with a variety of conditions for the municipalities, which include Bensalem, Lower Makefield, Northampton, and Bristol Townships. Each must complete a variety of steps to develop new sewage management procedures, and by next year they must submit updated versions of official sewage disposal plans, known as Act 537 plans, with the state.

In return, the Department of Environmental Protection will allow new sewer connections this year that provide an additional 334,750 gallons of sewage disposal for new construction projects, plus more connections in later years.

No new sewer connections have been made into the Neshaminy Interceptor - the main sewage line in lower Bucks - since 2012, according to DEP spokeswoman Deborah Fries.

The agency placed a ban on new hookups in July of that year, saying a pumping station had been operating over capacity.

Township administrators decried the ban, saying it hurt growth and development, and the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority sued to overturn it.

Monday's agreement ends that litigation, and officials from both sides said they were pleased.

Bristol Township Manager William McCauley called the announcement "good news" and said, "If there's available capacity for development, hopefully we'll have some growth for the tax base."



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