By: Benedict G. Vinzani Jr., Ph.D.
QUESTION: I THINK MY BATHROOM TOILETS ARE LEAKING – IS THERE A WAY I CAN TELL FOR SURE?
ANSWER: Toilet tank leaks are almost undetectable to the naked eye, but they can add significantly to your water bill. A limited number of "home water saving kits" is available at Somerset Borough's Water Office. These kits can detect leaks in your bathroom toilet. These kits include two dye tablets and information concerning leak detection and water conservation. They are available to customers of the Somerset Borough Water System. Stop in and ask for one, or pick one up while paying your water bill.
QUESTION: WHAT DO I DO IF I SUSPECT SANITARY SEWER PROBLEMS
ANSWER: The following is the recommended procedure to use if you experience sanitary sewer problems: Between the hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm call the Somerset Borough Water/Sewer Office (443-2661) and describe the situation to our personnel. If the problem should arise after normal working hours, the emergency number to call is 445-1525 (Somerset County Control) who will dispatch the appropriate Borough crew to check out the problem. The Borough personnel will then make a determination of whether it is a blocked sewer main or whether the service line going from the main to the home is blocked. If it is a blocked sewer main, the Borough will promptly correct the problem. If it is a problem with the customer's service line, the property owner will be so advised and can then make arrangements to correct the problem.
QUESTION: WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT STORMWATER PROBLEMS ON MY PROPERTY
ANSWER: The Borough occasionally receives complaints concerning storm water problems being caused by an adjoining property. Somerset Borough's official regulation of residential storm water is limited to review and approval of new home construction and residential subdivisions and insuring that storm drains are not connected to the sanitary sewer system.
From time to time, the Borough's Inspection Office has attempted to assist property owners complaining about runoff problems by suggesting methods of routing storm drains and catch basin structures to take advantage of drain inlets and channels. If it is determined that the complaints are unresolved despite our assistance, we advise participants that there are no Borough regulations that directly apply to this situation and to suggest that they consult private legal counsel for advice on any civil remedies that they may wish to pursue.
Additionally, residents living along highways not owned or maintained by the Borough are advised that the Borough is not responsible for correcting stormwater or other problems associated with that roadway.
QUESTION: HOW DO WINTER VACATIONERS ARRANGE TO HAVE THEIR WATER SERVICE SHUT OFF
ANSWER: Water customers who wish to have their water service shut off for the winter should notify our water office two weeks prior to the day of the requested shutoff. This allows sufficient time to locate and reset the shutoff valve at the curb. This step is necessary to determine if the shutoff valve is functioning properly. A malfunctioning shut-off valve could cause internal plumbing damage if not taken care of before cold weather arrives.
The Borough has a fact sheet available that outlines the guidelines for disconnecting water/sewer services during extended periods of absence. Please call 443-2661 if you would like a copy, or stop in and pick up one while you are paying your water bill.
QUESTION; WHAT IS THE BOROUGH'S WINTER SNOW PLOWING POLICY
ANSWER: Due to the high costs of removing snow, it is important for the Borough to use its resources wisely and with cooperation from its residents to minimize the cost. As we enter another winter season, Somerset Borough reminds property owners, tenants and contracted snow removers of the following:
- It is unlawful to plow, deposit or blow snow into the streets.
- Plow designs make it very difficult to plow roads without depositing snow along driveway entrances or sidewalks. Homeowners are reminded that they are responsible for access to their private driveways. When possible, delay shoveling/plowing driveways until after the roads have been totally plowed. To help decrease the amount of snow re-deposited at a cleared driveway
entrance, clear the shoulder area in advance of the driveway opening and deposit the shoveled or plowed snow away from the direction of the approaching Borough plows. We understand the inconvenience this presents, however the Borough does not remove "wind rows" of snow from driveway entrances.
- The roadways are plowed in order of priority. Main roads are addressed first with special attention to steep hills and difficult intersections. Side roads and alleys are done next. Alleys may remain unplowed if the main roads require repeated plowing.
- It is a safety hazard to residents and plow drivers when vehicles are parked along the road during heavy snowfall. Not only do parked vehicles reduce the sightline for pedestrians and oncoming vehicles, but they also force the plows to veer out of the travel lane. It would help our snow removal efforts if residents would remove vehicles from the roadway prior to a major snow/ice storm, and use available off-street parking.
- A copy of Somerset Borough’s Snow Policy is available at the Municipal Building or by clicking here. You may also phone the Borough office at 443-2661, extension 400 and listen to the major features of our policy.
QUESTION: CAN LEAVES AND YARD WASTE BE BURNED OUTSIDE
ANSWER: No. Because grass fires can be easily caused by outside burning, the Borough of Somerset has discontinued allowing leaves and yard waste to be burned outside.
QUESTION: FALL LEAF COLLECTION DATES
ANSWER: Under Pennsylvania's Recycling Program, leaves must be separated from regular garbage. Residents are reminded not to sweep leaves into the street. This will result in a fine. The practice of burning leaves and yard waste is also prohibited. For those Borough residents wanting to dispose of their leaves, the Borough provides two separate weeks for collection of leaves. There was a collection during the week of October 22nd and the next one is scheduled during the week of November 13th. Continue watching the Daily American Newspaper for information on the collection procedures. Stickers must be placed on each bag of leaves set out for collection and can be obtained at the Borough Building, 347 West Union Street. You may contact the Borough office at 443-2661 with any questions, or for additional information. Bags containing garbage, or without stickers will not be collected. If you still have leaves after the collection dates, Borough residents may drop off properly stickered bags at the Public Works Garage at 644 South Franklin Avenue between the hours of 6:00 am and 2:30 pm Monday through Friday.
The borough has a fact sheet available that outlines the guidelines for leaf collection.