The Township maintains two separate and distinct sewer systems.
Sanitary Sewer System
This system uses a network of pipes to collect sewage from homes and businesses and channels wastewater into the Ross Township collector system to the trunk lines and then to ALCOSAN. These conduits are fully enclosed and buried underground. The sanitary sewer user fee is calculated from the residents’ water usage. The system’s primary purpose is to protect public health.
This system collects rainwater runoff and directs it into local streams without putting it through the sewage treatment plant. Parts of this system are open to the surface and no one is charged for its use. The primary role of the stormwater system is to protect property against flooding and water damage.
Both the sanitary and stormwater sewer systems use a combination of private and public components. The design and construction standards are specified in the Township’s Code of Ordinances.
Stormwater Management Plan
In 2008, Ross Township updated its Stormwater Management Ordinance, and it implemented a plan to deal with flooding, infiltration/inflow problems, detention, and related stormwater drainage concerns.
That stormwater management plan targets the accelerated runoff resulting from land development and prescribes the construction of various swales, culverts, catch basins and detention ponds, as well as other water-handling facilities to channel and stage the release of rainwater to prevent downstream flooding.
The responsibility for maintaining these stormwater facilities is divided among homeowners, neighborhood associations, commercial property owners, the Township, and state authorities as follows:
- Roof and Foundation Drains: These drains, along with the gutters, spouts and pipes which connect them to the community’s storm sewer system, are the homeowner’s responsibility.
- Driveway Pipes and Culverts: These are typically the homeowner’s responsibility.
- Drainage Ditches: These are generally the responsibility of the homeowners association unless the ditch is specifically designated as a public or municipal drainage easement.
- Pipes and Culverts Underneath Roadways: The owner of the road assumes responsibility for these facilities. On private roads, or on newer plans where the roads have not yet been accepted by the Township, it is the homeowners’ or developer’s responsibility. On public roads, it is the responsibility of either the Township or the State.
- Clearing Debris and Erosion Along Stream Channels: Removing debris from local streams to keep them flowing in their channels is generally the responsibility of the land owners whose property abuts or is traversed by that stream. Note, however, that repair of erosion on large streams, such as building channel walls, may require a state permit.
- Catch Basins: The owner of the road along which catch basins are situated is responsible for maintaining them. That could be either the Township, PennDOT, the plan developer, or the owners of a private roadway or parking lot where basins are installed.
- Detention Facilities: Detention ponds in residential plans are typically the responsibility of the neighborhood’s homeowners association. Detention facilities in non-residential areas are normally the responsibility of the private establishments they serve. Developers are typically responsible for detention pond maintenance in newly developing plans until they are turned over to the homeowners association.
The Green Edge
How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value
Green infrastructure - water quality management techniques like green roofs, tree plantings, rain gardens, permeable pavement, that mimic natural hydrologic functions - has been proven to help solve major urban stormwater problems and improve the health and livability of neighborhoods. Cities and others have promoted these practices to commercial property owners as a way to improve stormwater management and, in some communities, to reduce stormwater utility bills. But relatively little information has been publicized about the additional value that green infrastructure, when used on private property, can provide to commercial property owners and their tenants.
Benefits of Green Infrastructure for Private, Commercial Property Owners
- Increased rents and property values
- Increased retail sales
- Energy savings
- Stormwater fee credits and other financial incentives
- Reduced infrastructure costs
- Reduced costs associated with flooding
- Reduced water bills
- Increased mental health and worker productivity for office employees
- Reduced crime