Municipal Authority of Washington Township
Office Hours: Monday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m./Tuesday - Thursday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Who to Contact
-The Municipal Authority of Washington Township is responsible for all projects related to public sewage lines within the Township.
Spurgeon Shilling from the Sewage Enforcement Agency is the appointed SEO for the township who is responsible for all issues related to on-lot septic systems and their permits.
Municipal Authority Office Sewage Enforcement Agency, Mindy Shay, Administrator
Tel: 724-727-5881 Tel: 724-548-7743
Fax: 724-727-5891 Fax: 724-543-1835
As a reminder to our new and existing customers, the following is a review of some of the fundamental Resolutions of the Municipal Authority of Washington Township:
Per the Resolutions of the Municipal Authority of Washington Township it is unlawful to connect any roof drain thereto or permit any roof drain to remain connected thereto, or to permit, allow or cause to enter into said public sanitary sewer any storm water, foundation drain water, spring water, surface water, or any industrial waste from any property other than that for which a permit is issued. All internal drains must be connected to the public sanitary sewer line. Connections to the public sanitary sewer line shall be made as per the MAWT’s current drawings and specifications. Failure to comply with any of the terms or provisions of any of the resolutions of the MAWT shall subject an offender to a fine of $1,000.00 per day for each violation.
By Ordinance of the Township of Washington, all real estate that is sold or refinanced within the Township of Washington, which is connected to the public sanitary sewer line, must first obtain a Document of Certification or Temporary Document of Certification from the MAWT. A Document of Certification is received upon the successful completion of an Inflow and Infiltration test performed by the MAWT’s designee. Application form for certification of sewer system can be found here.
Why do we have public sewers in a rural township, and how do we pay for them?
All municipalities in PA are required to submit an Act 537 plan to the PA DEP. This is a plan of how the municipality is now and will in the future handle sewage within its borders. The township supervisors are responsible to insure that no sewerage facilities, public or private, pollute any waters of the Commonwealth of PA. Should violations occur the township is liable for substantial fines and mandated solutions both of which would be extremely costly to the residents.
In 2000, we were required by DEP to update our Act 537 plan. We were given the option of adopting an on-lot septic management ordinance (SMO) or form a sewer authority and pursue public sewerage.
The on-lot SMO would have required each resident with a septic system to have it pumped and inspected by a state certified pumper every two years. In addition, any deficiencies in the inspection would have to be repaired by the residents. The township would be responsible to manage and enforce this ordinance. This responsibility would be another substantial annual cost to the township. Knowing that a large percentage of septic systems are malfunctioning and also that most soil conditions in the township are not suitable for construction of a conventional, on-lot system (currently permitable new and replacement systems range from $15,000 to $25,000), we decided it was in the best long term interest of our residents to form a sewer authority to pursue long term solutions to our sewerage requirements.
In August 2000, the Municipal Authority of Washington Township (MAWT) was formed. Our old Act 537 plan called for some “band-aid” solutions that didn’t make long range economic sense. Therefore, the first project done jointly by the MAWT and the township supervisors was to engineer all of Washington Township for public sewerage. With a complete plan in place we could then break out sewer districts’ making sure that any project built was part of a master plan and not something that would need abandoned in the future and replaced by a more expensive project.
A “sewer district” is a geographical area that is economically feasible to sewer as a stand alone project. The following standards apply to a sewer district:
1. All costs associated with construction are generated by fees charged to residents in that district. No tax dollars are spent.
2. The final construction cost divided by the total EDU’s (Equivalent Dwelling Unit, each residence is 1 EDU, businesses are multiple EDUs based on PA code, title 25, section 73) in that district determines the future tapping fee for that district.
3. The above cost is increased by 3% simple interest each year to keep up with inflation, for new sewer taps after the initial project is completed.
4. All revenue generated by future development in that district stays in that district and is used to reduce the principal of the loan and pay the project off before 20 years.
5. As a result of (2) and (3) above, no future developer will unfairly profit at the expense of the residents who financed the sewer district project.
6. As a result of (4) above, all projects can be paid off sooner than the original 20 year loan.
7. This system is equitable for future development as it still provides sewerage at a lower cost than currently permitable on-lot systems.
General components of sewer charges
· Tap Fee (currently $3600). This is the “Down Payment” on the construction costs for a new sewer system. This is a one time cost due at the time of connection to the new sewer district.
· Monthly Bill – consists of 3 components:
1. Debt Service (approximately $45.00 / mo.). This is the payments on the financed portion of the construction. This is a low interest (2-3%) Pennvest Loan or Bank Tax Credit Loan. This portion of the bill will cease when the loan is paid off (less than 20 years).
2. Operation and Maintenance ($6.00/mo.). This is the operation and maintenance fund that pays for the day to day operations of the MAWT.
3. Treatment Charge (minimum $20.00/mo.) This is paid to the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority.
Sewer districts and current loan pay-off projections given no more development. (It is reasonable to assume some new development in the next 15 years; therefore each of these projects should pay off sooner than the current projections.)
· Paulton - constructed 1980 financed with a 30 year Pennvest loan at $15.70/month. Paid off in 23 years. Paulton residents have only paid treatment and operation and maintenance since 2003.
· Lower Beaver I – constructed in 2004 financed with a 20 year Pennvest loan at $34.00/month. The current projected payoff for Lower Beaver I is approximately 15 years.
· Lower Beaver II – constructed in 2006 financed with a 20 year Pennvest loan at $47.00/month. It is too early to project an early payoff for Lower Beaver II.
It is important to note that when the Sewer Authority was formed, it was directed to implement a business model of providing public sewer service. It is for this reason and this reason only that the debt portion of your sewer bill ceases when the loan has been paid off. One situation arose a few years ago when a developer abandoned an outdated private treatment plant. The result of this action caused the township and, in turn, the MAWT to pass the actual cost of operation ($119/mo.) to those being served. It was suggested, by the residents involved, to the board that if they charged all of the Paulton residents (who were currently paying 0 for debt service as their project was paid off) just $5.00 - $10.00 per month, it would solve the problem. As this option was completely contrary to our philosophy, it was flatly rejected. For a couple years the actual cost of maintaining the sewer plant was paid for by the residents being served. The board, however, worked quickly to bring about a permanent solution that was affordable and also fair to the other sewer districts.
New Sewer Projects: Pine Run Project, Upper Pine Run, Pucketa Creek Project
Why would MAWT tackle three projects at the same time?
MAWT was in the engineering phase for the Pine Run Project when the state announced the availability of H2O Grant Funding. This grant funding was for sewer or water projects that were “ready to go”. As part of the stimulus money it had to be used for construction and not planning. Although Washington Township has never been able to acquire grant funding for a sewer project (because of its high average per capita income) in the past, we quickly, but carefully, prepared an application for all three projects. As a result of our planning back in 2000 when we prepared a plan to sewer the whole township, we had “ready to go projects” and we knew how much funding was needed to make them affordable to our residents. We also, at the same time, became aware that the Westmoreland Industrial Park Association needed to build a new sewerage treatment plant at the Westmoreland Business and Research Park. Working together with WIPA cut both of our costs substantially and gave us a more favorable grant application status. The end result of all this after several months of diligent work by both, the board of supervisors and the sewer authority, we received 8.2 million in grant funding for the above three projects.
Although this will involve a lot of work in a short period of time for our sewer authority, the financial benefits to our residents dictates that we proceed.
Won't the installation of public sewers bring rapid development that our residents don't want?
When talking to residents involved in a new sewer project, it is a toss up whether cost or the threat of bringing development is the biggest concern. Our residents like the rural nature of Washington Township and they don’t want that to change. The Board of Supervisors has worked hard to provide needed services while preserving the rural nature of our township. Municipalities who are promoting development provide incentives to developers such as; reduced sewer tap fees, reduced lot sizes, financial help on road construction, the list of possibilities is endless. In Washington Township we have taken a very fair, middle of the road approach. We have not done anything to make development easy or cheap. We believe that 100% of the cost of new development should be paid by those benefiting from the development, not the general tax payer. We do however support the right of any property owner to develop their property, and have not put any requirements in place with the intention of making development difficult. In short we are neither pro-development, nor anti-development. Our goal as set forth in Ordinance 100 (Subdivision and Land Use) is to encourage responsible development that has a positive impact on our community in any way possible.
Hopefully, this information has been helpful in understanding both our sewerage needs as a township and also our obligations and responsibilities as residents of the Commonwealth of PA. The board of supervisors of Washington Township has, and will continue, to look for the most economical solutions to our problems and needs. For more information on this or any item of township business, please attend our public meetings. You can call ahead to be placed on the agenda, or just attend and bring up any topic during the public comment period at the end of each meeting.
Notice! Open Records Law
State Office of Open Records: Office of Open Records, Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, Plaza Level, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225,
MAWT Bill Payment Options
•Credit Card : MasterCard of Discover (convenience fee will apply, see below)
•Credit Card: Visa/MasterCard/Discover (convenience fee will apply, see below)
•Electronic Check Payments (convenience fee will apply, see below)
Credit Card Payments Made in Office, via Telephone, or Online
The Washington Township Municipal Authority offers the convenience of accepting credit card payments. The payment processing company charges a convenience fee of 2.65% or $4.00 minimum to cardholders who use this service.
Electronic Check Payments
The Authority now accepts electronic check payments using our online payment service. Payments will be charged to your checking or savings account at your bank. You will need your 9-digit routing number, as well as your account number from your personal checks. A per transaction convenience fee of $1.50 will be charged by the payment processing company for this service.
When making your online payment be sure to enter your 10-digit sewer account number located on the top, left corner of your bill stub.