Original jurisdiction in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Borough of Reynoldsville and Reynoldsville Sewage Authority.
R. Edward Ferraro, for defendants.
Howard J. Wein, Assistant Attorney General, for plaintiff.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three.
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This case was commenced when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources
[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 319]
(DER), filed in this Court a complaint in equity addressed to our original jurisdiction. The DER sought to compel the Borough of Reynoldsville (Borough) and the Reynoldsville Sewage Authority (Authority) to upgrade an existing primary sewage treatment plant so as to provide secondary treatment of the sewage. The matter is now before the Court on the Borough's exceptions to the adjudication issued after a hearing before the Chancellor, Judge Blatt.
On July 7, 1959, the Sanitary Water Board issued a permit to the Authority for the construction of sanitary sewers and a primary sewage treatment plant. On April 1, 1963, the Authority and the Borough entered into an agreement and lease whereby the Borough agreed to lease the sewer system from the Authority. They also entered into a management agreement whereby the Authority was appointed general manager of the sewer system, subject to the general supervision, direction, and control of the Borough.
On January 28, 1970, the Sanitary Water Board issued an order to the Authority which modified its permit by requiring that the treatment plant be upgraded "expeditiously" to provide secondary treatment of its sewage. The order was not appealed, and the Authority subsequently applied to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a grant for construction of secondary treatment facilities. The EPA awarded a grant for 75 percent of the cost, and the Appalachian Regional Commission granted an additional 5 percent.
On March 25, 1975, the Authority and the Borough held a special meeting at which the Authority members voted 2 to 1 in favor of proceeding with the upgrading of the treatment plant, but the Borough Council voted unanimously against proceeding. Due to the legal and financial relationship between the Borough
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and the Authority, however, the Authority could not undertake the treatment plant modifications necessary for compliance with the order without the assent and support of the Borough, and repeated attempts by the parties to negotiate the dispute were unsuccessful. The DER (successor to the Sanitary Water Board) then sought an injunction ...