Sanitary Sewer - Collection System
Where Does it All Go?
Clean water is critical for sustaining life and health, yet people often take for granted the flow of water in and out of their homes. Where does it go after we flush the toilet or empty the sink, and how does it safely find its way back to the environment?
Wastewater from homes, businesses, industries, and institutions drains into a community's sanitary sewer system, an underground network of pipes that leads to the wastewater treatment plant. At the plant, used water is cleaned and returned to the environment to be used over and over again. Treatment is complex and essential to the protection of our water resources. There are no holidays for wastewater treatment - in fact most plants operate 24/7 to meet clean water standards on a continuous basis.
The Act 537 Sewage Facilities Program was instituted by the Department of Environmental Protection in 1966. This program monitors sewage disposal needs in order to address current and prevent future problems with surface and groundwater contamination through proper planning, permitting and design of sewage management facilities. The Act 537 Program has a large impact on how sewage is managed in growing municipalities thus the costs involved to make revisions can be burdensome. For example, an influx of homes can inandate the soils that were being used for on-lot disposal requiring a collection system of sewer pipes to be constructed in order to carry the waste to a treatment plant. A proactive municipality will evaluate and update, if needed, their 537 plan every 5-10 years to see if it's still meeting the needs of the community.
North Londonderry Township maintains four (4) pumping stations, over 700 manholes and over 36 miles of sewer pipes. All of these assets and their components need to be maintained and inspected annually to ensure proper operation. Our responsibility is the sewer main itself, the homeowner is responsible for the lateral to the main and the connection to the main.
Any matter that enters a sewer drain passes through pipes via gravity to the wastewater treatment plant. It may make a pit stop at one or more pumping stations, where it passes through a grinder for refinement and then pumped past a low spot back into the system.
Most of North Londonderry Township properties south of Route 422 and the North Hills development by Gravel Hill Cemetary, utilize the underground public sewer system.
Pollutants Cause Problems
The sanitary sewer collection system gathers used and dirty water from sinks, toilets, washing machines and bathtubs. It is imperative as homeowners, that we monitor what goes down these drains. It may be surprising to know the following items cannot only clog and backup the system, but be extremely costly to the treatment process.
The Lebanon County Stormwater Ordinance restricts this infrastructure from being emptied into the public sewer collection system. The influx of water in the collection system can cause overflows or backups into someone's house, streets or waterways.
Every gallon of rainwater entering the treatment plant negatively effects the process and leads to increased user costs. Help us prevent this by checking your outside sewer connection line - tends to be a white mushroom-looking vent cap, or screw-on lid on the cleanout pipe. This waterproof lid can prevent the seepage of rainwater into the sewer system if it is in good condition, securely fastened and six (6) inches above the ground. Any cracked or broken lids should be replaced.
Much like some of the other pollutants in this list, the influx of water flow can increase the cost of treatment which is then passed on to the customer and the unexpected chemicals may seep through the treatment process and into local waterways posing a health risk.
Fats, Oils and Greases dumped down drains - garbage disposals and detergents do not break these down
The most common culprit of a sewer clog is the build-up of hardened fats, oils, and grease normally all sourced through the kitchen sink. They are by-products of cooking that come from meat fat, lard, oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baked goods, sauces and dairy products. As they get poured down the drain they harden and attach to solids normally found in a sewer pipe and form clumps, sticking to the sides of pipes and slowing down flow. The build-up grows until it is noticed as a sewer backup into the home or even your yard!
The best way to prevent this type of backup is to soak up any fats, oils or greases from cooking with a paper towel and throw it in the trash. If you let it sit long enough it may even harden on its own and can be disposed of later. Large quantities can be placed in a sealable container, refrigerated, then tossed. This is a great way to reuse take-out containers! Minimize using your garbage disposal to eliminate the presence of fats, oils and greases in sewer pipes. Scrape plates and place food scraps in the garbage first or use a strainer in your sink to catch the solids to be emptied in the trash. CAUTION: Garbage disposals don't keep grease out of the sewer system and hot water and detergents that claim to dissolve grease only pass it down the line to cause problems elsewhere.
The treatment process is designed to process what you would expect to see in a sewer system. The unexpected prescense of these items could cause them to go untreated and pass into local waterways polluting our sources of drinking water and wildlife.
Discard and protect your medication from improper use by crushing and adding water to it in a plastic bag, then sealing it and tossing it in the trash. You can also mix medications with kitty litter, sawdust, or coffee grounds to make it less appealing to pets or children.
Visit our Recycling Page for proper disposal.
Sewers are designed to carry used water from sinks, toilets, showers and laundries away from a home. Flushing 'unflushable' items that do not break down in water - garbage, paper towels, disposable wipes, kitty litter, cigarette butts - causes blockages in pipes leading to costly backups and treatment. "Disposable" does not mean flushable. Disposable means the product is intended for single use that can be recycled or tossed with the trash. Most baby and adult wipes are not flushable because they do not disintegrate in water like toilet paper does.
Building a New Home
If you plan on building a new home and the property is within 150 feet of a sanitary sewer main, sewage disposal must be connected to the collection systems. The builder or plumber doing the work can obtain a permit for connection at the Township Office. Please call before arriving so that staff can prepare the permit in advance.
- Issued Monthly
- Mailed via USPS - expect to receive around the 10th of the month
- Due date is noted on the bill (non-receipt of a bill does not exclude the obligation of payment).
- May opt to receive notification via email when new bill is issued - sign-up on Customer Portal.
- Owner may elect to have a duplicate copy of the bill sent to a rental property for attending resident.
- Mail check or money order to:
North Londonderry Township
P.O. Box 605
Palmyra PA 17078
(please include top portion of bill or note account number on payment)
- Payments are NOT accepted at the Township Office.
- Establish monthly automatic withdrawal from a checking or savings account prior to next billing - complete and submit form to the Office.
- Submit one-time payment via Customer Portal with credit card (finance charges apply) or bank account.
- If you establish payment through your financial institution, please make sure you've noted the account number. It is also best to allow adequate time for a check to be processed and mailed to us. We do not receive these payments electronically.
- If you received a delinquent notification/certified letter, please review the letter for alternate payment options.
What you'll find on your bill
- Previous Balance: A sum of outstanding charges from prior billings, including a 1.5% interest charge for late or non-payment.
- Base Fee: A constant month-to-month fee of $29.50 to cover maintenance of the collection system (pipes, pumping stations and treatment plant). This fee is issued to all public sewer customers. Charges do not cease for any reason. The owner is responsible for payment of these charges.
- Usage Charge: Based upon monthly water usage, charges for treatment are $9.40 per 1,000 gallons.
- CID: Used to establish access to the Customer Portal. Here you can make payments and monitor your account 24 hours / 7 days a week.
- From Date - To Date: The range of your monthly water usage. Pennsylvania American Water reads water meters in the Township around the middle of the month. They provide the Township with the readings to bill appropriately for what has entered the sewer system.
Any questions regarding your bill or payments, please contact the North Londonderry Township Office, Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (717) 838-1373.
Buying or Selling
If a settlement company is handling the transaction paperwork for a home sale, buyers and sellers do not need to contact the Township Office regrading a final sewer bill. The settlement company is expected to make contact with us a few days before settlement to determine an escrow amount.
Sellers: The settlement company will collect an estimated dollar amount from you at the time of settlement to cover your final sewer bill. Upon determining the final amount used from PA American Water, the settlement company will issue payment to North Londonderry Township for Final Sewer Payment. The difference, if any, from the amount held in escrow should be returned to you by the settlement company that held the dollar amount.
Buyers: Due to the fact that sewer bills are issued a few weeks after water readings, you may not see a bill right a way if you moved in toward the end of the month. We do encourage you to call the Township Office to verify if you are unsure because non-reciept of a bill does not exclude you from payment. Please see our Sewer Billing tab to inform yourself of payment options and cycle of billing.
Again, Buyers and Sellers do not need to contact the Township Office regarding Final Sewer bills or to setup accounts for the purchase of an existing home account. We recommend contacting the settlement company to verify this process.