A sanitation district in Pennsylvania has notified homeowners that its representatives will be making personal visits to every structure served by its network of drainpipes because that’s what the federal Environmental Protection Agency is demanding.
The letter informs homeowners the inspections will probably take only about 15 minutes, but that all properties “will be considered a source of clear water discharges until an inspection can be conducted.”
The effort, according to officials at the Coplay Whitehall Sewer Authority, is to prevent water from sources such as sump pumps or downspouts from being channeled into a water treatment process.
But homeowners are concerned about the mandatory government inspections of their properties.
“I do consider this the equivalent of illegal search and invasion of my home without just cause and [it] establishes a situation where I am guilty and must prove innocence,” one homeowner, who asked that his identity be withheld, told WND.
“This inspection is to determine if I am ‘discharging’ ‘clean water’ into the sewer system. At no point in the letter does it say exactly what will be looked at, (I guess leaky faucets will be a crime) what else may be being evaluated while my property is being inspected, what is on the ‘check list’ or report that is being done, and really exactly who is doing the inspection,” he said.
Officials with the sanitation district confirmed that they dispatched the letter and said the inspections are being demanded by the EPA. However, officials at the regional EPA office and those at its Washington headquarters declined to respond to WND questions about the process or its goals.
The letter to homeowners said the district was served “with a United States Environmental Protection Agency Administration Order which requires elimination of all Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) and the elimination of all clear water from entering each respective municipality’s sanitary sewer system.”
“The Administrative Order carries severe penalties and fines if compliance with the Order is not achieved,” the letter said.
“In order to meet the requirements of the EPA Order, the CWSA finds it necessary to conduct door to door inspections of all properties connected to the CWSA system to ensure your property is not contributing clear water discharges to the sanitary sewer systems.”
The letter warned that “failure by the CWSA to comply with the EPA order will result in fines and penalties levied against the CWSA which in turn will be passed on to CWSA customers through increased sanitary sewer rates.”
The homeowner told WND, “I find myself becoming more and more angry as I process the ramifications of this whole issue. This may be just to look for ‘clean water discharge’ (what a joke – I wonder if they will look to see if I’m in the shower too long and not standing under the flow of water enough and I better not run the water for a glass of cold water), but this is, like the sexual assaults of the TSA, the beginning of accepting illegal and unwarranted searches.
“It is happening here, but from the letter I get the feeling that it is being done elsewhere with the goal of having the EPA visit every single home/apartment in America to collect who knows what information … and if this is for clean water, what will be next?” the homeowner said.
The sanitation district’s own website confirms there apparently are other ways to obtain some information, since it describes how it “utilizes a ‘state of the art’ television inspection system, reviewing 30 miles of line/year to assure maintenance of an exemplary ‘tight’ system.”
The district website confirms that there are 13,500 properties served by the “approximately 120 miles of line,” meaning that the entire system could be reviewed once every four years with the separate system it uses.
It advises that “rainwater, downspouts, basement drains and sump pump discharges” should not be connected or piped into the sanitary district’s drains.