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25 Pa. Code § 71.1. Definitions.


§ 71.1. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Act—The Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (35 P.S. § §  750.1—750.20).

   Clean Streams Law—The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § §  691.1—691.1001).

   Clean Water Act—The Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C.A. § §  1251—1387).

   Delegated agency—A municipality, local agency, multimunicipal local agency or county or joint county department of health to which the Department was delegated the authority to review and approve subdivisions for new land developments as supplements to the official plan of a municipality in which the subdivision is located.

   Equivalent dwelling unit—For the purpose of determining the number of lots in a subdivision only as it relates to the determination of planning exemptions and fees for planning module reviews under this chapter, that part of a multiple family dwelling or commercial or industrial establishment with flows equal to 400 gpd. These flow figures are not intended to be used for the calculation of flows for the design of community sewerage systems or for the allocation of flows related to community sewerage systems. Community sewerage system flows for design and permitting purposes shall be calculated using the procedures established in the Department’s Domestic Wastewater Facilities Manual (DEP-1357).

   Individual residential spray irrigation system—An individual sewage system which serves a single dwelling and which treats and disposes of sewage using a system of piping, treatment tanks and soil renovation through spray irrigation.

   Large volume onlot sewage system—An individual or community onlot sewage system with a design capacity to discharge subsurface sewage flows which are in excess of 10,000 gpd.

   Limiting zone—A soil horizon or condition in the soil profile or underlying strata which includes one of the following:

     (i)   A seasonal high water table, whether perched or regional, determined by direct observation of the water table or indicated by soil mottling.

     (ii)   A rock with open joints, fracture or solution channels, or masses of loose rock fragments, including gravel, with insufficient fine soil to fill the voids between the fragments.

     (iii)   A rock formation, other stratum or soil condition which is so slowly permeable that it effectively limits downward passage of effluent.

   Local agency—A municipality (or any combination of municipalities acting cooperatively or jointly under the laws of the Commonwealth), county, county department of health or joint county department of health.

   Lot—A part of a subdivision or a parcel of land used as a building site or intended to be used for building purposes, whether immediate or future, which would not be further subdivided. Whenever a lot is used for a multiple family dwelling or for commercial, institutional or industrial purposes, the lot shall be deemed to have been subdivided into an equivalent number of single family residential lots as determined by estimated sewage flows.

   Municipality—A city, town, township, borough or home rule municipality other than a county.

   Official plan—A comprehensive plan for the provision of adequate sewage systems, adopted by a municipality or municipalities possessing authority or jurisdiction over the provision of the systems, and submitted to, and approved by, the Department as provided by the act, and this part.

   Official plan revision—A change in the municipality’s official plan to provide for additional, newly identified future or existing sewage facilities needs, which may include one or more of the following:

     (i)   Update revision—A comprehensive revision to an existing official plan required when the Department or municipality determines the official plan or one or more of its parts is inadequate for the existing or future sewage facilities needs of a municipality or its residents or landowners.

     (ii)   Revision for new land development—A revision to a municipality’s official plan resulting from a proposed subdivision as defined in the act.

     (iii)   Special study—A study, survey, investigation, inquiry, research report or analysis which is directly related to an update revision. The studies provide documentation or other support necessary to solve specific problems identified in the update revision.

     (iv)   Supplement—A sewage facilities planning module for a subdivision for new land development which will not be served by sewage facilities requiring a new or modified permit from the Department under The Clean Streams Law, and which is reviewed and approved by a delegated agency.

     (v)   Exception to the requirement to revise—A process established in §  71.55 (relating to exceptions to the requirement to revise the official plan for new land development) which describes the criteria under which a revision for new land development is not required.

   Person—An individual, association, public or private corporation for profit or not-for-profit, partnership, firm, trust, estate, department, board, bureau or agency of the United States, Commonwealth, political subdivision, municipality, district, authority or another legal entity which is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties. The term includes the members of an association, partnership or firm and the officers of a local agency or municipal, public or private corporation for profit or not for profit.

   Residential subdivision plan—A subdivision in which at least two-thirds of the proposed daily sewage flows will be generated by residential uses.

   Retaining tank—A watertight receptacle which receives and retains sewage and is designed and constructed to facilitate ultimate disposal of the sewage at another site. The term includes:

     (i)   Chemical toilet—A permanent or portable nonflushing toilet using chemical treatment in the retaining tank for odor control.

     (ii)   Holding tank—A tank, whether permanent or temporary, to which sewage is conveyed by a water carrying system.

     (iii)   Privy—A tank designed to receive sewage where water under pressure is not available.

     (iv)   Incinerating toilet—A device capable of reducing waste materials to ashes.

     (v)   Composting toilet—A device for holding and processing human and organic kitchen waste employing the process of biological degradation through the action of microorganisms to produce a stable, humus-like material.

     (vi)   Recycling toilet—A device in which the flushing medium is restored to a condition suitable for reuse in flushing.

   Sewage—A substance that contains the waste products or excrement or other discharge from the bodies of human beings or animals and noxious or deleterious substances being harmful or inimical to the public health, or to animal or aquatic life, or to the use of water for domestic water supply or for recreation. The term includes any substance which constitutes pollution under The Clean Streams Law.

   Sewage enforcement officer—An official of the local agency who reviews permit applications and sewage facilities planning modules, issues permits as authorized by the act and conducts investigations and inspections that are necessary to implement the act and the regulations thereunder.

   Sewage facilities—A system of sewage collection, conveyance, treatment and disposal which will prevent the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage or other waste into waters of this Commonwealth or otherwise provide for the safe and sanitary treatment and disposal of sewage or other waste. The term includes:

     (i)   Individual sewage system—A system of piping, tanks or other facilities serving a single lot and collecting and disposing of sewage in whole or in part into the soil or into waters of this Commonwealth or by means of conveyance to another site for final disposal. The term includes:

       (A)   Individual onlot sewage system—An individual sewage system which uses a system of piping, tanks or other facilities for collecting, treating and disposing of sewage into a soil absorption area or spray field or by retention in a retaining tank.

       (B)   Individual sewerage system—An individual sewage system which uses a method of sewage collection, conveyance, treatment and disposal other than renovation in a soil absorption area, or retention in a retaining tank.

     (ii)   Community sewage system—A sewage facility, whether publicly or privately owned, for the collection of sewage from two or more lots, or two or more equivalent dwelling units and the treatment or disposal, or both, of the sewage on one or more of the lots or at another site.

       (A)   Community onlot sewage system—A system of piping, tanks or other facilities serving two or more lots and collecting, treating and disposing of sewage into a soil absorption area or retaining tank located on one or more of the lots or at another site.

       (B)   Community sewerage system—A publicly or privately-owned community sewage system which uses a method of sewage collection, conveyance, treatment and disposal other than renovation in a soil absorption area, or retention in a retaining tank.

   Sewage management program—A program authorized by the official action of a municipality for the administration, management and regulation of the disposal of sewage.

   Sewer authority—A municipal authority, established under the Municipality Authorities Act of 1945 (53 P. S. § §  301—401), which provides, maintains, owns or operates sewage facilities.

   Small flow treatment facilities—An individual or community sewerage system designed to adequately treat sewage flows not greater than 2,000 gpd for final disposal using a stream discharge or other disposal methods approved by the Department.

   Soil horizon—A layer of soil approximately parallel to the soil surface, the chemical and physical characteristics of which are distinguishable by observation or other method of analysis, from the chemical and physical characteristics in adjacent layers of soil.

   Soil profile—The collection of soil horizons, including the natural organic layers on the surface.

   Subdivision—The division or redivision of a lot, tract or other parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land, including changes in existing lot lines. The enumerating of lots shall include as a lot that portion of the original tract or tracts remaining after other lots have been subdivided therefrom.

   Waters of this Commonwealth—Rivers, streams, creeks, rivulets, impoundments, ditches, water courses, storm sewers, lakes, dammed water, ponds, springs and other bodies or channels of conveyance of surface and underground water, or of their parts, whether natural or artificial, within or on the boundaries of this Commonwealth.

   Working day—Calendar days as specified in 1 Pa.C.S. §  1908 (relating to computation of time) excluding Saturdays and Sundays, or a day made a legal holiday by the statutes of the Commonwealth or of the United States. The period shall be calculated to exclude the first and include the last day of the period.


   The provisions of this §  71.1 amended under sections 7.2 and 9 of the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (35 P. S. § §  750.7b and 750.9); The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § §  691.1—691.1001); and section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  510-20).


   The provisions of this §  71.1 adopted August 13, 1971, effective August 14, 1971, 1 Pa.B. 1649; amended April 28, 1972, effective May 15, 1972, 2 Pa.B. 753; amended September 28, 1973, effective October 15, 1973, 3 Pa.B. 2176; amended August 30, 1974, effective September 16, 1974, 4 Pa.B. 1805; amended June 9, 1989, effective June 10, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 2429; amended November 1, 1996, effective November 2, 1996, 26 Pa.B. 5347; amended November 7, 1997, effective November 8, 1997, 27 Pa.B. 5877. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (221861) to (221864).

Notes of Decisions

   Sewage Facilities

   Preliminary subdivision approval may be granted prior to approval of a private Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan request by the Department of Environmental Resources. Baker v. Board of Supvrs., 668 A.2d 635 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995).

   It was appropriate for the Department of Environmental Resources to grant a system permit for a proposed sewer system and label it ‘‘experimental’’ in order to determine whether the particular system would work and such a label did not cause the Department of Environmental Resources to incur liability when the system failed. Londonderry Township v. Geyer, 537 A.2d 377 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1988).

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