Public Sanitary Sewer
Public Sanitary Sewer Service is provided to most of the western and southern areas of the Township.
Public sewer exists in the southern and western portions of the Township. Please review the Sewer Base Map to determine if you are located within an area of Township served by Public Sanitary Sewer.
Allen Township operates the public sewer collection system, which includes the Willow Green and Hokendauqua Pump Station that serves areas of the Township. In addition, treatment is provided through the Township Intermunicipal Sewer Service Agreement with the Borough of Northampton.
Please consult these additional documents and forms for any work involving the public sewer portion of the Township's system:
The basis of individual sewer usage is calculated upon the amount of water consumed at each property connected to Public Sanitary Sewer within a given billing period.
Billing cycles for Public Sanitary Sewer are as follows depending upon your Public Water Service Provider:
For Allen Township Public Sanitary Sewer Customers connected to Northampton Borough Municipal Authority
for Public Water Service (NBMA provides Sewer Billing on behalf of Allen Township):
- For Residential Customers - Meters are read January, April, July and October. Combined Public Water and Public Sanitary Sewer bills are mailed to the customer shortly following the reading of meters.
- For Commercial Customers - Meters are read on a monthly basis. Combined Public Water and Public Sanitary Sewer bills are mailed to the customer shortly following the reading of meters.
For Allen Township Public Sanitary Sewer Customers connected to City of Bethlehem Water System
for Public Water Service (Allen Township provides Public Sanitary Sewer Billing based on meter data provided by the City of Bethlehem):
- For Residential Customer - Meters are read pursuant to the City's regulations. Public Sanitary Sewer bills are mailed to the customer by Allen Township following receipt of the water readings from the City.
It is important to have an accurate meter reading to calculate actual consumption, as this impacts the amount billed for Public Sanitary Sewer.
Water meters are the responsibility of the property owner
and need to be kept in working order to ensure proper billing.
Private ON-LOT Sewage Systems
Properties not served by public sewer service utilize on-lot septic facilities which are the responsibility of the property owner. On-lot septic systems are regulated by the State Department of Environmental Protection and township ordinances.
A Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO) is appointed by the Township to assist property owners with on-lot septic system issues, as well as issue permit for repairs or the construction of new on-lot systems in accordance with PA DEP regulations. Please refer to the Administration Directory – Consultant Section for the contract information for the Township Sewage Enforcement Officer.
In accordance with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), the Township enacted a Sewage Facilities Official Plan (Act 537 Plan) on April 12, 2001, provides for a comprehensive planning document to identify and resolve existing sewage disposal problems, avoid potential sewage problems resulting from new land development, and to provide for future sewage disposal needs within the community.
ON-LOT Sewage Disposal Systems
Every homeowner with an on-lot sewage disposal system should be aware of what type of system they have, understand its operation, and know how to maintain it properly. The best designed and properly installed on lot sewage disposal system will still malfunction if the homeowner does not properly operate and maintain the system.
In addition to requiring costly repairs, malfunctioning systems can contaminate surface and ground waters, cause various health problems, and spread disease, as well as create unsightly messes and foul odors when raw sewage surfaces in the yard or backs up into the home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a website called Septic Smart
for more information. Allen Township recommends that your septic system be inspected and cleaned at least once every three years.
How an ON-LOT (Septic) System Functions
There are two basic types of anaerobic (without Oxygen) on lot systems; those with gravity distribution systems and those with pressure distribution systems. In both types, there are three major components:
- The septic tank.
- The distribution box (gravity system) or dosing tank (pressure system).
- The absorption area.
Sewage flows to the septic tank, where the primary treatment process takes place. In the tank, the heaviest matter settles to the bottom (forming sludge) and the lighter matter (scum) floats on top of a somewhat clear liquid called effluent. While the sludge and scum must be pumped out regularly, the clear liquid flows out of the tank to a distribution box or dosing tank, and is then directed to the absorption area by gravity flow or through pressurized pipes. Within the absorption area, this effluent exits through pipes into a layer of gravel and then percolates through the soil for additional treatment. The bacteria in the soil neutralize many of the contaminants in the wastewater.
Signs of an ON-LOT System in Trouble include:
- Toilet runs sluggish
- Sewer odors in the house and/or drinking water
- Illness, often to household visitors
- Sponginess around septic tank, distribution box or dosing tank and absorption area
- Surfacing raw sewage
- Dosing pump runs constantly or not at all
- Dosing tank alarm light is on
- Backup of sewage into laundry tubs or other fixtures
Homeowners can help prevent malfunctions and ensure the long-term use of their on lot system by doing the following:
Conserving Water and Reducing Wasteflow
- Conserving water and reducing wasteflow into the septic tank
- Having the septic tank pumped at least every 3 years, depending upon tank size and household size
- Avoiding putting chemicals in the septic system
- Not using the toilet to dispose of bulky, slowly decomposing wastes
- Inspecting the septic tank, pipes and drainage field annually
- Maintaining accurate records of the septic system (design, installation, location, inspections, pumpings, malfunctions, repairs)
- Preventing run-off from downspouts, sump pumps, and paved surfaces from getting into the septic system
- Keeping heavy vehicles, equipment and livestock away from the septic system
- Not planting trees and shrubs over or close to the septic system
ON-LOT systems not only treat and dispose of domestic sewage from toilets, they also receive wastewater from various other household fixtures, including baths, showers, kitchen sinks, garbage disposals, automatic dishwaters and laundries.
Conserving water and reducing the amount of wasteflow from household activities is an important step to ensuring long-term use. The more water-using devices in a household, the greater the burden is on the on lot system.
Pumping Your Septic Tank
A septic tank accumulates solids (sludge) and scum which should be pumped out at least every three years. The frequency of pumping depends upon tank size and household size. Larger households generally require more frequent pumpings (every one or two years).
In Pennsylvania, specific tank sizes are generally based on the number of bedrooms in the home because the number of bedrooms is an indicator of household size. For example, a home with three bedrooms must have a 900 gallon or larger septic tank. The more bedrooms, the larger the septic tank.
For more information on the recommended frequency of pumpings, contact your local agency (normally your local township) Sewage Enforcement Officer or the Department of Environmental Protection.
Your Toilet is Not a Trash Can
Trillions of living, beneficial bacteria constantly treat and decompose raw sewage in a septic system. The effectiveness of these bacteria can be impaired if harmful substances and chemicals are put into the septic system. Harmful substances/chemicals include:
- Oils and grease
- Varnishes and paints and solvents
- Harsh drain and toilet bowl cleaners
- Laundry detergents with high sudsing elements
- Old drugs & medications
Remember, what goes into your toilet and drains may eventually end up back in your drinking water. So instead of using caustic toilet bowl cleaners or bleach, try mild detergent or baking soda or one half cup of borax per gallon of water.
Also NEVER flush bulky, hard to decompose items such a sanitary napkins, diapers, paper towels, cigarette filters, plastics, eggshells, bones or coffee grounds down the toilet because they can clog the system.