PN-22-33 NAB-2022-00158-P05 (South Centre Township - Wastewater System Project)

Published Nov. 15, 2022
Expiration date: 12/14/2022

                        Public Notice
U.S. Army Corps              In Reply to Application Number
of Engineers                     NAB-2022-00158-P05 (South Centre Township - Wastewater System Project)

Baltimore District
PN-22-33                          Comment Period: November 15, 2022 to December 14, 2022                                     

This District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1344),as described below:

APPLICANT:   South Centre Township
                          c/o Dale Sneidman
                          6260 4th Street
                         Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania 17815


The proposed project is in wetlands and waterways adjacent to the Susquehanna River, Cambells Run and unnamed tributaries to the Susquehanna River in South Centre Township, Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Lat/Long: 41.022584, -76.343245


The overall project purpose is to construct a larger encompassing wastewater treatment system for both residential on-lot disposal systems and industrial and commercial ventures that currently operate their own private systems, and to reduce redundancy of effort and costs within the service area of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Phase II to the wastewater treatment project, which consists of strictly wastewater collection system is currently planned to begin construction in 2024 and the design will begin in the very near future. The applicant’s agent has stated that the Phase II to this project is mostly out of the floodplain and “nearly entirely out of wetlands”. In addition, the applicant’s agent has stated that any impacts to regulated resources, in Phase II, will be considered temporary by the Unites States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Phase II is not included in this Public Notice because this project is tied to funding. Phase II is still part of the overall single and complete project, and when application is submitted proposed impacts will be assessed based upon both Phase I and Phase II impacts.


To construct a wastewater treatment facility, sewage main pipelines and maintenance access roads. The project includes the installation of 33,095-linear-feet of
8-inch-diameter, 7,682-linear feet of 12-inch-diameter, and 12,482-linear-feet of 15-inch-diameter PVC sewer main. The project will temporarily impact 160-linear-feet of stream channel, 170,521-square-feet of palustrine emergent wetlands (PEM) and 9,273-square-feet of palustrine forested wetlands (PFO). The project will permanently impact 26,008-square-feet of PEM wetlands and 16.539-square-feet of PFO wetlands. All streams crossed by this project will be restored within 3-days of earth disturbance. The 9,273-square-feet of forested wetlands that will be temporarily impacted to install gravity sewer will be restored and replanted with native trees. The permanent loss of 0.232 acres of emergent wetlands will be a direct result of required maintenance access. The permanent loss of 0.366-acres of emergent wetlands and 0.380 acres of palustrine forested wetland will occur as a direct result of the construction of the wastewater treatment plant.



Stream Impact (lf)

Wetland Impact (Sq. Ft.)

Authority (Section 10/404/408)

Sewage Treatment Plant


16,539 ft2 permanent PFO

15,945 ft2 permanent PEM


Gravity sewer main install


170,521 ft2 temporary PEM

9,273 ft2 temporary PFO


Permanent maintenance access


10,101 ft2 permanent PEM




The Corps, as the lead federal agency, is responsible for all coordination pursuant to applicable federal authorities.


The applicant has stated that a number of different WWTP site options were considered. Their stated first and most logical option was to site the WWTP in the floodplain along the river using the low elevation to collect all wastewater. A second alternative considered was to site the WWTP near the Lime Ridge Community Center; this alternative was deemed infeasible by the applicant due to the impact it would have on the Lime Ridge community. A third alternative considered was to site the WWTP in the fields between the Elan Memorial Park Cemetery and the Central Columbia High School. The applicant has stated that this alternative was found to be infeasible as Township officials found that the deed for the cemetery did not allow for any use of the area other than for the cemetery and agriculture. Regardless of which alternative was chosen, the applicant has stated that pump station would still be needed in the floodplain to collect wastewater and pump it to any site which was chosen. The first alternative was preferred by the applicant because they stated that historic photographs and mapping show that the area has been previously disturbed by excavation for the canal and one of the lagoons which was previously located at this site, and greatly reduces the potential for archeological concerns which were likely in the remainder of the floodplain within the Township. The Act 537 Plan ultimately recommended constructing the WWTP and gravity collection system with the plant having an approximate location in the floodplain upstream of the Big Heart Pet Brands WWTP.

During preliminary design and land acquisition, the siting of the WWTP was further refined to the site which was selected by the applicant for final design. The siting was considered in the previously disturbed Big Heart Pet Brands lagoons which covered the floodplain approximately from the alignment of Keefers Lane to Lowe Street extending south to the river. These lagoons were first constructed in the late 1960’s, then reduced in size as they were damaged by floods such as Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and Hurricane Lee in 2011. In 2020 the last lagoon was retired following the construction of the Big Heart Pet Brands WWTP inside of one of the lagoons. Within the available footprint, the WWTP was sited at the far east end for several reasons: to minimize the amount of land needed to be acquired from Big Heart including not creating a non-contiguous parcel; to locate the WWTP outfall as far away from the Big Heart outfall to minimize impacts on the river; and to utilize the existent Township ROW and access to the site, thus further minimizing disturbance. The proposed WWTP was then sited as close to the canal and hill as possible, allowing the plant to sit within the “shadow” of the Big Heart Pet Brands WWTP floodplain impact. According to the applicant’s agent, the current design that was submitted under the Joint Permit Application follows the Final Act 537 Plan adopted by South Centre Township and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environment (PADEP), namely all-gravity wastewater collectors and interceptors feeding a new Township-owned treatment plant. This design avoided 4 to 5 acres of mostly floodplain and some wetlands impacts compared to the Original Act 537 Plan.

The applicant’s agent has stated that the use of pump/lift stations is cost prohibitive. The applicant proposes using temporary pads when crossing wetlands to minimize the potential for rutting; to excavate topsoil with the vegetative root mass carefully, and stockpile separately from the subsoil unless there is standing water, or the soil is too saturated to segregate; and to install trench plugs inside of wetland boundaries according to the PADEP standards.

The applicant has proposed that permanent wetland impacts will be mitigated through the purchase of PFO Wetland Mitigation Credits at the Evergreen Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank. The proposed mitigation credits to be purchased from Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank will be 1.36-acres of PFO credits. The mitigation requirement is determined at a ratio of 1:1 for permanent PEM impacts and 2:1 for permanent PFO credits. Forested wetlands that will be temporarily impacted will be replanted with native wetland tree species.


This project will be evaluated pursuant to Corps Regulatory Program Regulations (33 CFR Parts 320-332). The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonable may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors, which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economic, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, and consideration of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The evaluation of the impact of this project will also include application of the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency.


A preliminary review of this application indicates that the proposed work may affect federally listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended. As the evaluation of this application continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination.


The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 04-267), requires all federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH), including species of concern, life cycle habitat, or Habitat Areas of Particular Concern. The project site lies in or adjacent to EFH as described under MSFCMA for managed species under the MSFCMA. The Baltimore District has made a preliminary determination that the project will have no effecton EFH. The Baltimore District has made a preliminary determination that mitigative measures are not required to minimize adverse effects on EFH at this time. This determination may be modified if additional information indicates otherwise.


Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and applicable guidance, the Corps has reviewed the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places and initially determined that no registered properties listed as eligible for inclusion, therein, are located at the site of the proposed work. The Corps has made the preliminary determination that the proposed project would have no effect on archaeological resources based on an August 13, 2021 letter from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The Corps final eligibility and effect determination will be based on coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office as appropriate and required, and with full consideration given to the proposed undertaking’s potential direct and indirect effects on historic properties within the Corps’ identified permit area.


Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act also requires federal agencies to consult with federally recognized American Indian tribes that attach religious and cultural significance to historic properties that may be affected by the agency’s undertaking. Corps Tribal Consultation Policy mandates an open, timely, meaningful, collaborative, and effective deliberative communication process that emphasizes trust, respect, and shared responsibility. The policy further emphasizes that, to the extent practicable and permitted by law, consultation works toward mutual consensus and begins at the earliest planning stages before decisions are made and actions taken. The Corps final eligibility and effect determination will be based on coordination with interested tribes, in accordance with the Corps current tribal standard operating procedures as appropriate and required, and with full consideration given to the proposed undertaking’s potential direct and indirect effects on tribal resources.


All Section 408 proposals will be coordinated internally at USACE. The Section 408 decision will be issued along with the Section 404 and/or Section 10 decision. Please see the following link for more information regarding Section 408:


The applicant is required to obtain a water quality certification in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.


Where applicable, the applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management Program. By this public notice, we are requesting the state concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency statement.

The applicant must obtain any state or local government permits which may be required.


The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments provided will become part of the public record for this action and are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above or other pertinent factors must be received by the Corps, Baltimore District within the comment period specified above through postal mail at the address below or electronic submission to the project manager email address below. Written comments should reference the Application Number NAB-2022-00158-P05


Any person who has an interest which may be adversely affected by the issuance of this permit may request a public hearing. The request, which must be in writing, must be received within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration. Also, it must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected by this activity and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected. The public hearing request may be submitted by electronic mail or mailed to the following address:

Marion Gall
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
Regulatory Branch
1631 South Atherton Street
State College, Pennsylvania 16870

It is requested that you communicate this information concerning the proposed work to any persons known by you to be interested, who did not receive a copy of this notice.

General information regarding the Corps’ permitting process can be found on our website at This public notice has been prepared in accordance with Corps implementing regulations at 33 CFR 325.3. If you have any questions concerning this specific project or would like to request a paper copy of this public notice, please contact Marion Gall at 814-235-1761 or This public notice is issued by the Chief, Regulatory Branch.