DEP’S Proposed Septic System Regulations Cause Uproar

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PALMYRA TOWNSHIP -- Dozens of land owners, developers, and farmers, are worried that proposed tougher regulations for septic systems by the Department of Environmental Protection will hurt the area's economy, in Pike, Wayne and Carbon Counties.

The Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau organized the get together in Pike County to go over the DEP's newly proposed septic system regulations.

Land owners and developers say the proposed new rules are ridiculous and unnecessary and will hurt the local economy.

"This is just another nail in the coffin, you drive roads and you can see closed up restaurants, closed up bars, closed up grocery stores, it's everywhere but particularly here," says Robert Kiley of Kiley Associates.

"The regulations are going to choke the development which directly affects my business, the builders, the well drillers, it goes on and on, and this is the lifeblood of our economy," says Jamie Rutherford of Rutherford Surveyors.

The DEP has proposed tighter regulations when installing septic systems on land that's close to bodies of water.

The newly proposed regulations wouldn't allow developers to build on their land unless it's 150 feet away from a body of water, and if there's a stream, it's 300 feet.

The statewide regulations also require a protective barrier to be installed around the septic tank and technology that would lower nitrates in the water.

The DEP says it's being done for very good reasons.

"The Poconos have the most protected waters in the state, and the DEP is charged with protecting the waterways of PA so that's why we're coming up with this policy," says Colleen Connolly of DEP.

"We have lost probably about 75 to 80 jobs in the last two years to businesses that did not relocate in our municipality once they saw what they had to go through," says Chris Wood of Dingman Township.

"DEP wants to hear from you, we welcome your response, we welcome your comments, your comments will help us determine what goes in to this final policy," says Colleen Connolly of DEP.

Again these are just proposed regulations for septic systems statewide, nothing has yet been approved.

The DEP adds, the comment period, which is going on right now, will end on May 2.