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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 28, 2017 03:30 PM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Private Sewer Lateral and Water Service Line Repair
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would allow municipalities and municipal authorities to make public funds available to repair or replace broken sewer laterals and water lines on private property when the leaks pose a threat to the public health or safety.

The legislation will amend the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority Act to allow municipalities or municipal authorities to include private lateral rehabilitation or replacement in PennVEST funding applications when determined by the municipality that it is the most cost effective approach to reduce wet weather sewer overflows.

The bill would also allow municipalities or municipal authorities to include projects for the improvement, extension, repair or rehabilitation of private water service lines connected to public water systems, where the governmental unit determines that those activities will benefit the public water system in PennVEST applications.

Under the bill, a governmental unit that has completed those activities shall not be deemed to be the owner of the private sewer lateral or water lines or to have any further responsibility to conduct those activities, unless the governmental unit makes an affirmative determination to accept those obligations.

It is important to highlight that this legislation does not require any municipality to participate. It would be up to each and every local water authority to decide if they want to designate public funding for such a cause and determine the guidelines for eligibility for such a program.

Addressing sewer lateral issues has become a challenge across the state, particularly for local municipalities, since prices for repairs range between $5,000 and $35,000. Many authorities have found very few homeowners comply with the requirement to make these necessary repairs, thus compromising our sewer system even more. Additionally, the increasing need to combat lead contamination in our water supply requires us to seek all available resources in making sure our citizens have access to safe drinking water.

I hope you consider joining me in supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as SB639