On Monday East Greenville officials discussed potential problems with a request by Blommer Chocolate to connect to the Upper Montgomery Joint Authority waste management system.
According to Borough Manager Jim Fry, Upper Hanover Township, which currently handles Blommer's waste, has had problems processing the volume coming from the plant. Fry said the plant creates about 16,000 gallons of waste per day and, because the chocolate plant is so close to Upper Hanover's smaller facility, the waste does not have a chance to become diluted, which would make it flow more easily through the pipes.
Although Blommer pre-treats its waste with diffused air filtration, there have been issues in the past with the sewage pipes becoming clogged from solidified matter such as cocoa butter, sugar and other cocoa waste.
However, Fry said he does not believe clogged pipes have been an issue in recent years.
Discussions about a potential hook-up are in very preliminary stages, but borough council members raised a number of concerns about allowing Blommer to hook into UMJA.
For example, Council Vice President Josiah Pierson questioned whether allowing the hookup would use up nearly all the available EDUs, which could hinder future development in the borough. Although more EDUs will be added when UMJA completes planned facility upgrades, that would have little effect on the near future.
Mayor Ryan Sloyer also questioned whether it was a good idea for the borough to set a precedent for Upper Hanover properties to connect to UMJA, and whether it would be better to discuss a possible connection after the upgrades to the UMJA plant are completed.
Council member Andrew Rock also asked about potential backups in the UMJA lines as a result of connecting the chocolate factory. Fry noted that some repairs have already been made to East Greenville lines, which would reduce the chances of a backup. Fry also said that the two miles the waste would travel to the UMJA plant would allow it to be diluted before treatment.
Fry said UMJA is interested in possibly trucking several loads of waste to the plant to test whether the facility could even handle it. Council members also said they would like Glenn Quinn, executive superintendent of UMJA, to come to a future meeting to talk about their concerns. Any connection would also need to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Borough Solicitor Stephen Kramer said, "This is something we really have to look into. I don't know what's needed to make the connection," adding that there could be impacts on roads, too. "The most important thing to find out is what the effect is going to be on the borough."
In other news, Sloyer said a resident has complained about youths gathering in the area of Front and Cherry streets. According to Sloyer, these are the same juveniles who were causing some problems in School Alley earlier in the summer. He said he will ask police to increase their presence in the area, adding that although no one has been cited for breaking curfew yet, repeat violators could face up to $1,000 in fines.
Council member Tracy Hunsinger also noted that vacancies still remain on the UMJA Board and Planning Commission. Interested residents should contact the borough.
Sloyer also reminded council that Community Day is coming up Sept. 6. Anyone interested in helping with the day's events should contact the borough.