Newtown Township's highest-ranking elected official said Wednesday he shares residents' concerns about a proposal for a local sewage treatment plant.
Newtown Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Gallagher said he isn’t convinced a local plant is necessary. The Newtown Joint Municipal Authority has “a steep uphill battle” to prove the plant is the best option for the community, Gallagher told a group of residents.
The residents, outraged over the prospect $68 million sewage treatment plant opening near their neighborhood, brought their concerns to the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors Wednesday night.
“This is a quality of life issue," said Karon Barton, a resident of the Crown Pointe neighborhood, which is located a few hundred feet from the proposed sewage treatment plant site off the bypass between Routes 413 and 532.
Newtown Township is in the process of preparing its Act 537 Plan, a document that maps how the municipality will handle sewage. If the plan is crafted to include the proposal for a sewage treatment plant as an option, then it cannot later be rejected.
The Act 537 plan will be complete in six months to a year, officials have said, and the Board of Supervisors have the final vote as to what is included in that plan. “ I’m very doubtful (the sewage treatment plant) will be in there,” Gallagher said.
But board member Rob Ciervo said it would be premature for any board member to form an opinion on the plant before all the facts are in.
Currently, the concept of reopening the former plant behind George School is in the exploratory stages. That treatment plant has been out of operation since the 1980s.
“It would untruthful to say we’re not considering it,” Ciervo said, noting that the proposal is the first stages. “This is early in the process, this is not towards the end," Ciervo said.
The Newtown Joint Municipal Authority Board of Directors have said a local plant may be the best option to deal with the area’s increasing sewage.
Barton, the local resident, said the process must be transparent and residents should be in the loop with the progress of the proposal. “Our biggest concern is to be aware of the timeline and be part of the process,” she said.