Ryncavage Advocates for Residents Facing Unprecedented Sewer Replacement Mandate
MOUNTAIN TOP – Residents of the Glen Summit community in Fairview Township have found themselves in a state of distress as they received notices from the Mountain Top Area Joint Sanitary Authority (MAJSA) mandating the replacement of their sewer laterals. These notices, which arrived last week, have sparked outrage among residents who are now facing the possibility of significant financial burdens and property damage.

The unfunded mandate, issued as part of MAJSA's $3 million sewer main project, requires residents to replace their sewer laterals, regardless of their current condition. The authority insists that these replacements must adhere to arbitrary criteria, including the use of “approved materials” and a required depth of “48 inches below grade.” Residents are given the option to either contract with the authority's designated contractor, Pioneer, at a rate of $95 per linear foot, or to hire their own contractor. Residents who choose to select their own contractor will still have to coordinate with Pioneer during its construction of the sewer main. 

For many residents, this unexpected expense could amount to more than $30,000 and may result in destruction to their yards, driveways, and homes. The letters sent to residents were dated late March, with references to a project start date in May and a completion date in August. Residents told Rep. Alec Ryncavage (R- Luzerne) that when they were informed, they had only 60 days from the completion of the sewer main project, estimated for this upcoming August, to connect the newly constructed laterals at their own cost or face disconnection.

Ryncavage expressed deep concern over the situation, stating, "These letters are threatening residents with tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary maintenance or face sewer disconnection. These laterals are in perfect working order. No community should be threatened with major fiscal impact with little notice. This sets a terrible principle that could be applied to any of the thousands of residents in the five-community footprint this authority oversees.

“Moreover, a review of state statues and agency regulations by the House Environment, Local Government, and Consumer Protection and Utilities committees found that there is no law, statute or regulation that addresses these arbitrary standards. Simply put, homeowners are already responsible for these laterals – and there is no good reason to replace something that is already statutorily compliant and operational.”

Highlighting the lack of prior communication, Ryncavage added, "Over a year ago, the Mountain Top Area Joint Sewer Authority met with my office and Sen. Lynda Culver. While the idea of a sewer main replacement project was mentioned, at no point were there any suggestions of holding nearly 60 residents hostage to tens of thousands of dollars in construction. To homeowners who have perfectly adequate laterals, this leaves only the contractors who are winning in this situation. This is what happens when quasi-government bodies go unchecked.”

Ryncavage has teamed up with Sen. Lynda Culver to work closely with affected residents and local officials to address this issue and ensure residents’ rights and financial well-being are protected. Together they hope to bring the community and authority together for a positive outcome.

Representative Alec Ryncavage
119th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Melissa Fox
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