Sewage rates may rise

BURNHAM – After receiving the results of an expert study at a Monday night meeting, Burnham Borough Council plans to vote on a 16 percent increase in sewer rates for borough residents in the near future.

The proposed rate hike, which would go into effect on Oct. 1, came as the result of a lengthy discussion involving Solictor Jeff Snook. Snook said the amount of the raise needed to be settled quickly in order for it to go into effect in the next quarter.

The rate hike would be in conjuction with the completion of the new Waste Water Treatment Plant. Steve Roselle, of CET Engineering Services, conducted a sewer rate study in which shows how the rates would need to be increased to help alleviate the repayment of loans upon completion of the plant.

“Using projected and hypothetical numbers, I prepared a proposal for the sewer rate projection,” Roselle said. “I did my best to create ‘educated calculations’ on what these rates could be.”

Snook said because an ordinance needs to be passed, the increase must be advertised and a meeting would need to be held to vote on the ordinance to allow the rate to go into effect. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 16 at the borough office on First Avenue.

In other business, four borough residents were in attendance to discuss the problems they have been experiencing with sewer back-up into their basements due to the recent flooding and storms.

Connie Reigle and Dick Smith said this problem started in about 2011, when extreme weather began to cause the sewer water and grime to back up into their basements.

“I have come to council several times since 2011 and nothing has been done about this,” Reigle said. “I am concerned about the health effects it could cause me.”

Smith shared similar views and both asked council about what could be done. Noah Wise, roadmaster for the borough, said all that can be done is to send a camera through and smoke the line to see if and where the problem is.

“I think the best solution of the all and at the lowest cost would be to simply put in a check valve at both properties to see if that solves the problem,” Wise said.

Dan Fisher, said while he has similar problems, he also says a sewage problem for him comes from a borough pump station located at the front of his property. Fisher said he also fears the run-off tunnels that flow under Standard Steel are clogged with debris, which is causing his property to flood faster. Council decided to speak with representatives of Standard Steel to discuss what can be done with these tunnels.