FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are interceptor sewers?
Interceptor sewers are generally the largest sized sanitary pipelines, located along streams, which convey wastewater to the treatment plant for pollutant removal prior to stream discharge. Interceptor sewers may be considered trunk sewers, while the sewers in streets to which houses discharge may be considered branch sewers.
Why is the project necessary?
The existing interceptor sewers are aging (some are 90 years old) and have begun to allow extraneous groundwater and rainfall, known as infiltration/inflow (I/I), to enter the system. This I/I can overload the sewer system and result in excessive treatment costs. High flows during extreme storm events can even overload the sewers to the point that manholes can overflow onto the ground surface. These sanitary sewer overflows can create public health concerns and are a violation of PA Department of Environmental Protection regulations. The Borough of Quakertown, in conjunction with the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, has undertaken this project to eliminate these concerns by replacing the existing sewer with a new, larger pipeline.
Why am I involved?
The Borough currently has an existing interceptor sewer that crosses your property, which is part of the replacement project. The Borough also has an existing easement across your property for the maintenance and replacement of the sewer.
What is an easement?
An easement is a certain right to use the real property of another for a specified purpose, without having an ownership stake in it. More specifically, the Borough has the right through the existing easements to enter the property to maintain and replace the existing sewer. However, the property over which the easement is located is owned by the property owner, not the Borough. The granting of an easement does not transfer any property to the Borough.
If the Borough already has an easement, what is being requested now?
As part of the requirements for the project, the Borough will be ensuring that there are two types of easements on each property: (a) 20-foot wide permanent easement for the future maintenance and replacement of the new sewer and (b) 10-foot wide temporary easement for the construction of the new sewer. The effects of these easements on your property generally fall into one of the following categories:
1. Existing, where we will be using the existing 20-foot wide permanent easement with no modification other than requesting an additional 10-foot wide temporary construction easement.
2. Modification, where a realignment of the new sewer will require a new permanent easement that will deviate from, but maintain portions of, the existing 20-foot wide permanent easement.
3. New, where either (a) the existing 10-foot wide permanent easement will have to be widened to 20-foot wide, or (b) the required easement will differ substantially from the existing 20-foot wide permanent easement.
If you are modifying or creating a new easement on my property, what happens to the old easement?
Any portions of an existing Borough easement that are not required for the new sewer will be relinquished to the property owner upon completion of the construction. This is further described in the Easement Agreement submitted to you.
How long does the temporary easement stay in place?
The temporary easement is extinguished after the construction is completed. This is further described in the Easement Agreement submitted to you.
Can I put plantings or buildings on the easement area?
No. The easement prohibits the planting of trees or bushes, or the placement of buildings or sheds on the permanent easement area. The easement is to remain clear so that Borough staff can readily access the sewer for maintenance or emergency correction.
What happens to the existing manhole on my property?
In most cases the new replacement sewer will be constructed in the same alignment as the existing sewer. In that situation, a new manhole will be installed and will continue to be located on your property. In the cases where an existing manhole will not be retained as part of the new sewer, the manhole frame and cover will be removed and the manhole will be filled to ground level.
Where can I see plans for the proposed construction?
Plans are available for review at the Quakertown Borough Hall, 35 North Third Street. Plans can also be reviewed on the Borough website www.quakertown.org.
What happens if there is damage on my property due to the construction?
The contractor who will install the new interceptor sewer is required to restore properties to their pre-construction state. The Borough will ensure that properties have been properly restored.
How do I get my Easement Agreement notarized?
If you do not know a notary or if you so choose, the Easement Agreement can be notarized at no charge to you at the Borough office. The Easement Agreement can be notarized at the Borough office during normal business hours or, upon your request, the Borough will schedule appointments on a workday evening or on a Saturday. An off-hours appointment can be scheduled through David Erwin at 215-536-5004.
Whether you choose to have the notarization done on your own or at the Borough, the notary will generally require the following: (a) all parties to the property title should be present; (b) signature(s) should be made in the presence of the notary; (c) proof of identification (such as a driver's license) should be presented to the notary.
When do I receive my payment for the easement?
The Borough will have checks available on the Friday following the receipt of the signed and notarized Easement Agreement. The check can be picked up at the Borough office or mailed to you, depending on your direction.
What happens if I don't sign the Easement Agreement?
The Borough hopes that agreements can be mutually reached with all property owners. There is relatively little change to your property. All properties have an existing sewer easement across them now and will continue to have a sewer easement in the future. In the extreme case and in order not to delay construction, the Borough could exercise its power of eminent domain. In that extreme case, the Borough could condemn the easement. The Borough would then have the easement rights and the matter of just compensation would be required to be settled at some later date.