Sewage Discharge Hits Pennsylvania Campground
On Dec. 27, Lake Adventure, a recreational camping subdivision in eastern Pennsylvania, reported that 209,371 gallons of sewage arrived at its 160,000-gallon capacity sewage plant, while the camping area was said to be unoccupied, according to the Pike County Courier, Milford, Pa.
The volume of sewage was an exception to the norm, according to Dingam Township Sewage Enforcement Officer Chris Wood, caused by groundwater getting through cracks in sewage pipe.
“That was an extremely bad day,” said Wood, but the situation occurs on a regular basis. “The groundwater is seeping into the pipes every time the groundwater is higher than pipes.” When the water table is lower than the pipes, effluent leaks out, said Wood.
The excess did not seem to be caused by more people in the park than usual. Wood doesn’t think there are people living at Lake Adventure full-time; it would be “kind of cold” to be living in an RV. He was there the other day and “didn’t see anybody occupying campsites.” Lake Adventure, which is required to report its population to the township, reported no occupied vehicles on Dec. 27.
In the summer, the treated water is discharged as spray irrigation around golf courses and woods. In the winter, it is discharged into a tributary of Birchy Creek.
When the sewage plant receives more than it can process, it stores the excess in holding tanks. On Dec. 27, it processed 160,000 gallons, and the remaining 49,371 was processed a little bit each day, said Wood.
In general, area lakes – like Gold Key Lake, Sunrise Lake, Woodland Lake, and Conashaugh Lake – have seen a marked population growth since the 1970s. “Everywhere around here was marketed in the '70s as weekend or summer homes,” said Wood, and many of those seasonal residences have since become year-round homes. But the water doesn’t appear to have suffered. Wood hasn’t seen any eutrophication, or drying up of lakes.
“We don’t do much lake testing, but we do test streams, which come from the lakes,” said Wood. “We have not seen appreciable signs of degradation. We have very clean water.”