SERVICES / Environmental / Small Flow Treatment Facilities


In the past, it was quite easy to obtain a sewage permit so that a tract of land that did not have access to public sewer could be developed into a building lot for residential or commercial use. Today, Pennsylvania has regulated permits which now require specific soil types and depths, percolation rates, and construction standards to insure that on lot systems function properly and protect the environment. Unfortunately, there are tracts of land which do not meet the new standards. Many of these tracts of land are often very desirable for development – hill tops, wooded lots, edge of mountains, etc. If the landowner receives a denial from a local sewage enforcement officer, does that mean the property can not be developed? Maybe not. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection can issue a sewer permit for a Small Flow Treatment Facility (SFTF), under certain conditions, after a denial letter has been issued by the SEO. While the permitting process with PADEP can be lengthy, it offers a viable alternative to not developing the land at all. A sewer permit changes a piece of raw land into a building lot that can greatly enhance its value and marketability. SFTF’s are also approved by PADEP to serve as viable option for malfunctioning existing on-lot systems. Often older systems will malfunction with no means to repair it using modern standards. There may not be enough native soil present, for example, to permit even a sand mound replacement. In these instances a SFTF could be the only means available to replace the malfunctioning system. After having described why a SFTF can be necessary, you may ask what it is. It is a system that collects the treated wastewater and discharges it to the ground surface or stream rather than into the ground as does a sand mound or conventional system. Due to the additional chlorination equipment and the required engineering and planning costs, a SFTF could cost as much as 50% to 100% more than a sand mound for a single family dwelling. While this is a considerable expense, it is often the only means to develop a tract of land. Also, PADEP allows for up to 5 homes to be connected to one SFTF. Dependent upon the size of land you have, you could be approved to develop up to 5 building lots. Please call us at 263-8794 for more details about this alternative treatment option.


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DENNIS E. BLACK ENGINEERING, INC.   2400 PHILADELPHIA AVE.   CHAMBERSBURG, PA 17201   717-263-8794 (P)   717-263-7052 (F)   888-238-0661   INFO@DEBEI.COM

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