Something smells at the WG Sewer Plant

Something smells at the WG Sewer Plant

In February 2016, the West Goshen Township board of supervisors presented a scenario regarding the need to upgrade the WG Sewer Plant which is owned by the Sewer Authority. The Sewer Authority leases the entire sewer system to the township which is required to use township employees to maintain the system. The story began with a tremendous story of intrigue, people getting fired & transferred, and ending with a “sky is falling” ending with the potential of raw sewage dumping into Goose Creek within 15 minutes. But the story and the timeline did not add up. Tom began to investigate the claims made by the township by asking for a series of RTK requests that would help to justify the then $13 million dollar price tag for the upgrades.

The question remains, why did the township engage with HRG to look at capital improvements for a plant that they did not own?

Tom went to many Authority and township meetings and asked countless questions. The RTK requests seemed to be the answer, but then there was a wall. Tom asked for 15 years of communications between township personnel and supervisors dealing with safety, maintenance, and equipment issues for the plant. He received 30 pages! 30 pages for 15 years of problems that needed $13 million to fix for a major municipal complex? Does it add up to you? It shouldn’t!

The township officials began to sell the idea to the public. The Sewer Authority board members began to be pressured, and would eventually decide to resign from the Authority. The current Authority members have not questioned what the new Authority engineering firm, HRG, is telling them. And no other company was consulted for the upgrades. The residents where told that no Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was done for 15 years. And no improvements had been done during this time.

Tom took the time to search through the files for the facility; 38 boxes worth. And what he has found is that at no time did the facility ever fail a DEP review. Nor did the people working at the plant lay down on the job and waste taxpayer money. They worked hard and helped to keep costs low for the residents. Much of the work was done in-house by qualified professionals. The employees kept equipment running well beyond its expected lifespan, helping to keep costs down and rates low.

What is more concerning is that at two consecutive Sewer Authority meetings, Tom asking the current 5 member board, 3 of them are new, if any of them had looked into the history of the capital improvements and equipment fixes from the last 20 years. They all said no. So how can they be sure that what HRG is proposing is truly needed if they don’t know what has already been done. The board of supervisors and the Sewer Authority members all said that no capital improvements had been done, nor was there a plan in place for Capital Improvements. Tom has uncovered, not only a Capital Improvement Plan, but a list of capital improvements that totaled $18,500,000 over the last 15 years.

All of these improvements, and the diligence of the township staff at the plant, did not raise fees in West Goshen Township. This has been stated several times that West Goshen Residents have been on a free ride regarding paying their fare share. Tom’s assessment is that due to quality work by dedicated employees, our rates were kept low. We also have the previous Sewer Authority board members to thank for not overspending needlessly.

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