cheltenham chamber of citizens

The Sanitary Sewer System has been Sold

On May 16, 2018 The Cheltenham Board of Commissioners voted to sell the sanitary sewer system to  Aqua PA for $50.25M. The sale will be effective December 6, 2019  Details on how the sale will affect you appear in the Cheltenham Township 2018-19 Annual Report and Calendar. We share that information here.  

What you need to do.

Will the citizens be better off in the long run to maintain ownership and control of this major asset, or, sell it off to a private for-profit entity and therefore forfeit control of future sewer rates? 

What is the best way to secure the expertise we need to run the system effectively? 

What avenues have the Commissioners explored for managing the system?

Is it smart to sell a system in which we are investing millions of dollars? 

What are the tax implications for residents for keeping the system?

Is it  ever wise to sell municipal assets?

​ When is the right time to have a discussion on an issue of this magnitude?


What is going on with the sewers?

​​In September 2016 the Cheltenham Board of Commissioners approved  Resolution #82-16 authorizing the exploration of the possible sale of the Sanitary Sewer System and granting the authority to negotiate a potential sale.  Three agencies were prequalifed through the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process:  Aqua Pennsylvania, Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, and Pennsylvania American Water.

On December 21, 2017  the Commissioners approved Requests for Bids (RFB) for the system. The RFB's were subsequently sent out with a March 23, 2018 response deadline.  Aqua PA submitted the sole bid of $50.25M.

Send Your Questions to the Commissioners

Ask Questions 

Insist on Answers

​Insist on Public Discussion

Attend the Public Works Committee Meetings  held the first Wednesday of the month at Curtis Hall at 7:30

The Township has been working under consent decrees to upgrade the aging sewer system. In June of 2013 the  Commissioners approved our Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan.  The plan outlines a multiphased, multiyear, multimillion-dollar series of upgrades.   Implementation of the plan continues today. To this point, the township has spent $38M on repairs and there is no set figure on future costs. Inspection of private laterals is part of this plan.  Lateral inspections occurred in Cheltenham Village and Glenside. Homeowners may be required to make expensive repairs. 

The Township has a comprehensive webpage dedicated to the Sanitary Sewer System.Information on the history of this  issue, the Corrective Action Plan, the 537 Plan, completed work, the Interim Bypass or "black snake", public meetings, and other relevant documents can be accessed there. Frequent updates on current work is also posted there.   Additionally, the Facebook Group Cheltenham Lateral Solutions is an excellent source for the latest information and current developments. 

View the  April 19   Sewer Discussion PowerPoint Presentation

View the April 19 (Recent) History of the Cheltenham Sanitary Sewer System Presentation

View  documents related to the sale at the Township's

Potential Sale of the Sanitary Sewer Sale WebpageP

 Citing the expense of maintaining the system, interest in retiring the Township debt, and the administrative burdens of ownership, the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners is "exploring" the sale of the Sanitary Sewer System. 


Earlier Postings

What you need to read.*

What you need to consider.

*Our Internet research for relevant articles revealed mostly those that make that question selling. We welcome articles with an opposing view. Please email us @cheltenhamchamberofcitizens@gmail.com with any articles.