Update - May 21, 2010
On May 19, 2010, the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners awarded an emergency contract for construction of a sanitary sewer bypass pump system to stop the surcharging experienced in Elkins Park.
The bypass would add a 24" companion line to the existing sanitary sewer system and capture excessive sewage during high-rain events. The bypass, which is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, will provide several years of stability to the sanitary sewer system, while the Township pursues other permanent measures.
The cost of the nearly $1.3 million bypass system will be covered by a 2008 bond issue. However, construction is contingent upon the Township securing a new Wastewater Service Agreement with Philadelphia. Negotiations are currently underway.
Update - May 6, 2010
The controlled discharge system in Ogontz Park has not been used to discharge into the Tookany Creek for almost a month. However, until an interim solution can be implemented, the discharge system will remain in place in case of future need. Therefore, Cheltenham Township officials still urge residents to stay out of the creek.
The Township continues to work closely with DEP to determine both interim and long-term solutions.
Update - April 23, 2010
Cheltenham Township officials report that the pressure in its sanitary sewer line has receded to near normal levels. As a result, the controlled discharge system at Ogontz Field in Elkins Park has not been used for over two weeks but will remain in place for the immediate future.
On April 9 and 10, the Township inspected about 1,000 feet of the sanitary sewer line between Shoemaker Road and Ogontz Field. The line was cleaned out, and no obstructions were found. The Township is monitoring the system on a daily basis and continues to work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on developing both interim and long-term solutions to the situation.
Update - April 9, 2010
WEEKEND WORK SLATED
Cheltenham Township officials report that the pressure in the sanitary sewer line that began overloading last week has gone down significantly over the last several days. The reduced pressure will allow the township to inspect the line beginning Friday, April 9 and continuing through the weekend. The township will bypass about 1,000 feet of the sanitary sewer line behind Shoemaker Road using temporary pipes located along Tookany Creek. The bypassed line will then be inspected by camera for any obstructions and cleaned out.
The township continues to work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protect on devising solutions to the situation.
Update - April 8, 2010
In consultation with the PADEP, the Township constructed a temporary clarification pond on Ogontz Field on April 6 - 7. The fenced 150' x 30' x 3' pond enables the Township to contain the sanitary sewer discharge, which is treated hourly with chlorine tablets, for a longer period of time.
Due to an extremely high water table generated by record-breaking snowfalls, combined with heavy spring rains, the Cheltenham Township sanitary sewer system has experienced unusual surcharging, an overloading of the system.
On April 2, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) directed the Township to reduce the pressure on the sanitary lines by conducting a controlled discharge of the sanitary sewer system over a small portion of Ogontz Field into the Tookany Creek in Elkins Park. This was done to accelerate the use of sanitary facilities in about six nearby homes that have had limited use of their facilities for several weeks.
Everyone is advised to stay out of Tookany Creek, due to the health hazard presented by the discharge. Although Township crews are working to filter and chlorinate the discharge, these measures will not adequately treat the creek water. The Township has posted over 500 signs along the creek between Church Road and Ashmead Road/Levick Street notifying the public to stay out of the creek. Pet owners are also advised to prevent pets from drinking from the creek.
In addition, the Township has been pumping out the sanitary lines using sewer trucks just above Shoemaker Road to help relieve the pressure. The sewer trucks discharge the sewage into other sections of the system that can handle the additional flow.
The Township and PADEP are monitoring the situation closely, including regularly testing the creek water. Officials are working together to formulate both short- and long-term solutions to remedy the problem.
Questions can be directed to Nancy K. Gibson, Cheltenham Township Public Information Officer, at 215-887-6200, ext. 230.