Frequently Asked Questions
How do I dispose of Hazardous Wastes?
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS - Oil, paint, pesticides, gasoline or any other hazardous material MUST NOT be discharged into the sewer system. Contact the Montgomery County Hazardous Waste hotline at (610) 278-3618 for disposal instructions.
Can I empty my sump pump into the sewer system?
It is illegal to discharge a sump pump into a sanitary sewer system. Sump pumps jeopardize our sewer system by increasing flows. During some rainfalls, the flow through our system exceeds its capacity and, although each individual sump pump seems small, the flow of several hundred pumps can cause an overload to the system. If your sump pump is discharging into our system either directly or through a laundry tub, contact a plumber and have the discharge flow corrected.
How can I conserve water around my home?
In the Bathroom:
- Take a five-minute shower instead of a bath. Estimated savings: 15 gallon per shower
- Don’t use toilets as a wastebasket, flush only when needed. Estimated savings: 12 gallons per day
- When brushing teeth use a glass of water instead of running the tap. Estimated savings: 3 gallons per brushing
- When taking a bath, don’t run the water without closing the drain first. The warm water that comes after running the tap for a while will heat up the first cold burst of water.
In the Kitchen:
- When washing dishes by hand, fill up the sink with soap and water instead of running the water continuously. Estimated savings: 25 gallons per washing
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for when you want a drink instead of running the tap until the water cools. Estimated savings: 2 gallons per drink
- Thaw foods in the refrigerator rather than under running tap water. Estimated savings: 5 gallons per meal
- Start a compost pile as an alternative to using a kitchen sink garbage disposal.
Outside Your Home:
- Water your lawn during the early morning hours when there are low temperatures and low winds.
- Position sprinklers to water only the lawn, not the sidewalk or street.
- Don’t waste water hosing down your driveway or walks. Estimated savings: 25 gallons for each five minutes not using hose
- Drive your car on your lawn when washing to save on watering the lawn, or use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
- Don’t over water your lawn during the summer, as a general rule it only needs to be watered every 5-7 days during this time of year.
What plant improvements are anticipated?
UMHJSA has recently installed:
- An emergency generator that operates when electrical service is interrupted;
- An upgraded ultraviolet light disinfection units to handle greater flow rates and eliminate chlorine use at the plant; and
- An effluent pump station that allows us to discharge up to 42 MGD of treated wastewater into the Pennypack Creek during flooding conditions.
We anticipate that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) will require UMHJSA to meet more restrictive nutrient (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorous) standards in the near future. Nutrient removal will require significant capital (over $15,000,000) and increase the operating costs by over 25 percent. UMHJSA will keep our ratepayers informed of any proposed upgrades to the plant.
What do I do if I am behind on my sewer bill?
UMHJSA requires payment within 30 days of receipt of your sewer bill. However, we realize that situations do occur that may temporarily result in payment not being possible. Although UMHJSA does have legal recourse to non-payment of bills (e.g., turning off the water to the property), we would prefer if you contact our office to develop a payment plan.
I have heard that I should not put food down the garbage disposal. Is this true?
Garbage disposal are common in residential properties. However, they can result in problems at the wastewater treatment plant, which is why they have been banned in some communities. The most environmental friendly means to treat suitable food waste is through composting.
Why do I pay sewerage bills for water I put into my pool?
Pool water contains chlorine and must be 1) discharged to UMHJSA for treatment or 2) discharge on to the ground surface if it has been dechlorinated. It is illegal to allow untreated pool water to enter a storm water collection drain.
What do I do if I want to disconnect my lateral from the collection system?
In the event of demolition of an existing building or a desire to eliminate sewer service, the lateral will need to be disconnected and capped off in the presence of an UMHJSA representative. Otherwise the property owner will continue to receive a sewer bill (minimum billing). The owner is responsible for obtaining any required municipal permits and UMHJSA must be notified 24 hours in advance so a representative can be on site to inspect the disconnection and capping of the existing lateral.