State Allows Exemption at Make-Shift RV Park
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has approved a planning exemption request, as allowed by the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, from Troy Township for the development of camping areas and a leased parcel at Alparon Park in Troy, Pa., The Daily Review, Towanda, reported
The approval comes after a period in which the DEP worked with three parties to resolve problems with the connection of RVs at Alparon Park to holding tanks and municipal sewage lines without proper sewage planning being done as required by law, said Dan Spadoni, community relations coordinator with DEP.
The DEP worked with the Troy Township supervisors, the Troy Township Sewage Authority and the Bradford Sanitation Committee on the issue, Spadoni said.
After the RV issue was discovered at the park by a sewage enforcement officer near the end of last year, sewage planning for a public sewer extension was submitted to the DEP on Dec. 1, and it was approved Dec. 21, Spadoni said.
Providing the background, Spadoni said that public sewers were physically extended to accommodate RV hookup sites at the park for rental without sewage facilities planning approval.
He also said that RVs were using sewage holding tanks on another area of the park without the proper sewage facilities planning approval.
To put it simply: "Essentially, Alparon Park was turned into an RV park without the necessary sewage facilities planning approvals," Spadoni said.
The half dozen RVs using holding tanks were removed as required by the local sewage enforcement officer, he said.
"DEP's focus has been to cooperatively work with the local municipality to see that the proper sewage facilities planning is completed as it is their obligation to see that it gets done as required by Act 537," he said.
Jeff Bower, president of Alparon Park, said several campers, many of them wind farm and gas workers, staying at the park approached the park in December 2009 and indicated they wanted to stay longer, through the winter that year.
The park granted their request, and then made various infrastructure improvements to the camping area to accommodate them. However, he said, the park wasn't aware of the planning module requirement under Act 537.
"We're working very closely with them (the DEP) on that problem they've identified, and they've been very helpful to us so far and been working with us very closely," Bower said in an earlier interview.
Alparon Park raises almost its entire amount of income through fundraisers, leases (the park is leased to Little League and the Troy Fair, for example), and activities, he said. It receives very little taxpayer money, Bower said.
The revenue from the RV camping at the park, therefore, is one of the park's important sources of income, he said.
According to a Dec. 21 letter from the DEP to Troy Township supervisors, two areas are being developed for full-time camping spaces at the park. This includes 22 spaces in the existing camping area and three new spaces behind the Lions Club building.
The 22 spaces are used by people with RVs, and the majority of those using the spaces are working in the natural gas industry, said Alparon Park administrator Cathy Jenkins. The three new spaces haven't been hooked up yet, Jenkins said.
The leased area is for Precision Drilling Inc. for three work trailers, the letter noted. Jenkins said this is located on the south end of the park behind the skating rink.
The total sewage flows are projected at 2,950 gallons per day, and sewage effluent will be handled by taps to the existing Troy Township Sewer Authority's lines with treatment at the Troy Borough Sewage Treatment Plant, and all parties have agreed to accept this new flow, the letter notes.
The letter states that the DEP has determined that the proposal is exempt from the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act planning requirements.
Further explaining the matter, Spadoni noted, "The point is that sewage facilities planning needs to be done and approved by the local municipality and DEP prior to any RVs being brought onto a property."