In April of 2019, the Benner Township Supervisors directed the Spring Benner Walker Joint Authority (SBWJA) to extend public sewer from the existing system at the University Park Airport to the Shiloh Road interchange. This directive required a special study to be completed to update the Township’s existing 537 Plan through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). The study was completed and presented for public comment during Benner Township’s public meetings in November and December of 2019 with final Township approval occurring in January 2021.
There was significant interest in this project and numerous meetings were held to discuss concerns by affected residents. Following numerous public meetings, the idea of this sewer extension was well vetted; however, a court challenge ensued and some of the local concerns were brought before the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) in Harrisburg. Following a three-day hearing, the EHB dismissed all remaining local concerns and ruled that both SBWJA and Benner Township followed the Act 537 regulations while preparing this special study.
The path has now been cleared to proceed with this extension as originally planned. The schedule of construction has been adjusted due to these delays and will now proceed as follows. The SBWJA will obtain all necessary permits from the various agencies of the Commonwealth through the fall of 2023. The project is extensive and requires work in some sensitive environmental locations along the proposed layout. A pre-permit meeting was held with PA DEP where we discussed the safest approach for the temporary construction within the environmentally sensitive areas. Once these permits are obtained, the SBWJA will move forward with the bidding process to hire a contractor that will complete this work.
SBWJA currently plans to open bids in early 2024 and provide notice to proceed with the contractor chosen to begin immediately. SBWJA believes the project will be substantially complete by the fall of 2024 when new customers will be able to begin connecting to the new extension.
Several developers have contacted the SBWJA regarding this extension and we believe development in the Shiloh Road interchange area will quickly follow the completion of this project. Additionally, the homes that currently exist in this fragile, environmentally sensitive area will be served by public sewer eliminating the discharge of pollutants into Spring Creek while protecting this pristine trout stream for future generations.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our Authority office.