Township Recycling and Waste collection - seeking input from Township residents

The Township Supervisors are seeking input from the Lower Alsace Township residents regarding opportunities for improvement to the recycling and waste collection services available in this community. If you wish to provide input to the Board regarding this program, please feel free to submit your letter to: Board of Supervisors, Lower Alsace Township, 1200 Carsonia Avenue, Reading PA  19606; or Please be sure the letter contains the address of your Lower Alsace Township property and send it to or drop off at the Township office no later than November 1, 2018.

Currently the township residents contract with multiple private trash haulers,  some who provide curbside recycling and some who do not.  The Township’s voluntary drop off recycling program currently collects approximately 130 tons of material per year in addition to the 200 tons of recyclables that is collected from the private haulers who provide curbside recycling, representing approximately 10% of our waste stream.  It is anticipated that mandating recycling in the township will greatly increase these numbers and reduce recyclable materials from being placed in area landfills.

Mandating recycling in the community, is not only the right thing to do, it will enable the township to apply for the grant funds to help offset the cost of implementing a new residential yard waste collection service that will include brush and leaf collection. An additional benefit to the program would be a reduction in the number of large trucks which are creating a negative impact of wear and tear on the township’s streets, private alleys and sometimes the curbs and sidewalks of the property owners.   Reducing the number of trucks to provide your waste and recycling services would help to preserve the transportation infrastructure of your community.

During 2018, the Township applied for and is currently awaiting the award of that recycling grant in the amount of $283,249. With the receipt of these funds the Township will be able to purchase additional equipment and further  enhance the brush and leaf collection services for residents.  These needed funds require the township to commit to enhancing the leaf and brush collection service and to mandate recycling for the Township.

The following options presented below (in no particular order of preference) are several  options that the Supervisors will be considering in the very near future. As part of that decision process, the board hopes to receive  feedback from the Township residents regarding these options.

  1. All property owners will be required to contract with a private waste hauler and a private recycling hauler.  The fee you pay now with your hauler may increase with the additional requirement of mandated curbside recycling.
  2. All residential property owners will be required to contract with a private waste hauler and participate in a curbside recycling program contracted by Lower Alsace Township, of which you will be invoiced for those services.  The fee you pay now with your hauler may increase if you don’t currently pay for recycling.  If you do, your recycling fee may be less if a publicly bid contract for one or more haulers is awarded by the Township.
  3. All residential property owners will be required to participate with a curbside trash and recycling program contracted by Lower Alsace Township, of which you will be invoiced for those services.   In this instance your trash / recycling services may be less if a publicly bid contract for one or more haulers is awarded by the Township.

DEP Reminds Pool Owners to Handle Waste Water Responsibly

Harrisburg, PA – In an effort to help protect stream health and aquatic life, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would like to remind private and public pool owners, as well as pool management companies, how to properly close their swimming pools for the season.

Discharged pool water and waters containing chlorine or other chemicals can be detrimental to aquatic life if not handled responsibly. It is extremely important that these waters are handled correctly. Pool waters must not be discharged to any storm sewer or land in which a storm sewer is accessible. Runoff can cause fish kills and unsafe aquatic conditions.

“Pool owners and professional pool cleaners need to dispose of old water appropriately and conscientiously,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Most of all, we need to make sure the wastewater is going into the sanitary sewer, where it may be allowed – and not into our storm sewers where it could harm aquatic life.”

When draining a swimming pool this year, make sure to protect Pennsylvania by following these tips:

  • Pool water may be disposed of through the sanitary sewer system ONLY with municipal permission.
  • Never dispose of pool water through a storm sewer, which will discharge to a stream.
  • If lowering the water level of the pool, let it drain to a lawn to prevent it from running off into a storm sewer.
  • If a sanitary sewer system is not available, water may be used for irrigation if it does not run off the property or into a storm sewer.

The discharge of swimming pool water to any waters of the commonwealth without a permit is a violation of the Clean Streams Law. Property owners and pool companies that violate this law may be prosecuted and penalized for damages.


Your Address - More than just package delivery

 Your Address – More Than Just Package Delivery

Brian A. Gottschall, MPA CEM

Director, Berks County Department of Services

Most of us go on through our day not thinking much about the address of our home or business. We use it so frequently; it is as common to us as our last name.  It is on our checks, our bills, our identification, everywhere important to our daily lives.  Hopefully, this is all your address ever means to you.  However, approximately 200,000 times a year in Berks County, someone calls 9-1-1 to report an emergency.  Some of these calls are on roadways, in the wilderness, or in other locations where there is no physical building involved.  Most though, involve the need to send emergency services to a home or business.

In the 1990’s, there was a countywide effort to move from the old system of rural routes and boxes to unified structure addressing. That effort was highly successful, but oversights, changes in construction since that time, and other issues mean that there are still thousands of structures in Berks County that are not properly addressed in a way that meets the national standards set forth by the US Post Office and the National Emergency Numbers Association (9-1-1 professional standards body).  Every day, responders are sent to addresses that are difficult to find, which results in a tangible delay in the delivery of emergency services.  This is not a problem unique to Berks County.  In fact, Berks is well ahead of many other neighboring jurisdictions in this regard.  For decades, county 9-1-1 centers have “worked-around” these issues thanks to 9-1-1 call-takers and emergency responders with local knowledge, the skill of the information professionals manipulating data at the county level to make systems work, and sometimes just brute force when speaking with a 9-1-1 caller and getting the information needed.

However, we are on the cusp of the most significant change in the delivery of 9-1-1 since the implementation of e9-1-1 that permitted cellular locating technology. This nationwide initiative called NextGen9-1-1 is, of itself, not the subject of this information piece, but significant information can be found by searching the Web for the term.  NextGen9-1-1 is intended to improve efficiency, reduce costs, ensure the ability to summon help from all electronic devices regardless of the technology, assist 9-1-1 Centers in supporting neighbors experiencing technical issues or a surge in calls and speed the ability to locate callers.  The magic of this technology is highly dependent on the data available to match against the call, and this means that the data must be accurate, complete, and comport to national standards that allows it to match the other data in the system.  A lack of consistency, or inaccuracy in the data, will result in the call being potentially misrouted and, once getting to the right 9-1-1 Center, causing a further difficulty in sending the correct help.

The County is working closely with the local municipalities to ensure we are prepared to evolve our 9-1-1 delivery system. This is going to result in the need for some structures to be readdressed.  This is not a step taken lightly.  Everyone involved understands the impact that changing your address can have on your life.  Consider though, that an unclear address could cost you or your loved one your life.

The hope of this article is that an awareness of the intent and need, will help to assuage the concerns of those that might be impacted by these changes, and encourage them to work hand in hand with their local township/borough/city by embracing the change. Also, to ask that property owners consider whether an emergency responder coming to their property location could easily and quickly find the structure.

If the house is back a lane or common driveway, is there an indication at the public street to use the lane to find the structure? Is the building marked with numbers that are large enough to be visible from the street?  What about at night?

The intent of all of these efforts is not to create cost, difficulty, or inconvenience for the property owners/occupants. It is absolutely about doing everything that can reasonably be done to get help to someone having an emergency where seconds may be the difference between life and death.

Please work closely with your local government officials if you receive notice that your address has been identified as being problematic. Even better, if you are aware that your address is:

  • Out of order, or otherwise not in sequence with neighboring addresses;
  • Inclusive of letters (eg. 123 A Main Street);
  • Part of an area where odd numbers and even numbers are not separated on the two sides of the street;
  • Using a street name that does not match the street signs on your street;

don’t wait for the local government to call you. Reach out to them and help them to identify these potential problems and work with you to fix them.


From the Lower Alsace Township Fire Company

Is Your Home A Mystery To Find? Can it be found quickly In an emergency when every second counts especially at night?

Unfortunately, emergencies can, and do happen. When precious seconds can mean the difference between life and death, you want to be sure you've done everything you can to put the odds in your favor. For $20, the price of a delivered pizza, reflective address signs can help.

These signs are highly reflective and very visible. It will be easier for emergency services, visiting friends, family, and repair and delivery persons to find your home, especially at night. In addition, it looks great and is inexpensive.

Our reflective address markers offer these benefits:

  • Better visibility. Especially at night, when reflected by headlights and when it counts the most. Help 911, fire, and law enforcement find your home quickly.
  • Low cost and peace of mind. An inexpensive way to help ensure home safety and security.

Do I really need one of these address signs?    My house already has numbers on it.

To find out, drive or walk up and down the street in front of your house. Put yourself in the position of a rescuer that's racing to your house in a life or death situation. Can your address be seen clearly and easily from the street, at a distance, and especially at night? Statistics indicate that Emergency Services receive millions of phone calls per year for emergencies and accidents that occur at home. Rescue personnel will tell you that finding the home is the hardest part. Wasted minutes and seconds can mean all the difference. If you have numbers that can't be seen or are small, peeling, falling off, faded, etc. then the answer is YES, I need a new address sign.

Help yourself and your community by making sure your home can be found easily and quickly. At the very least, your pizza will always be hot!