Stormwater plan confounds council
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
August 9, 2017

EVANS CITY — The state Department of Environmental Protection is requiring the borough to create a plan to handle stormwater, and the council is questioning how to pay for it.

Robert Arnold, an engineer from HRG, explained to the council during a public hearing Monday night that the DEP has required the borough to create a pollutant reduction plan for the sediment and phosphates that end up in the Breakneck and Connoquenessing creeks.

He said the borough has until early September to come up with a plan to reduce sediment by 10 percent. The DEP then has six months to review the plan and make comments.

If the plan is accepted and a stormwater permit is issued by DEP, the borough will have until 2023 to reduce sediment and phosphorus by 10 percent.

The permit, which would be issued in March, would remain in effect for five years, Arnold said.

The plan describes the borough, its paved areas, the current stormwater situation and other factors, and details how the sediment and phosphates will be removed.

Council President Lee Dyer expressed frustration that the DEP is requiring the stormwater action without providing funds to complete the project.

He said Evans City must pay $18,000 to get the plan off the ground, and costs to reduce sediment will be an added financial burden for the cash-strapped borough.

“We’ll be looking at the budget to see how to fund this,” Dyer said.

Ways to manage the sediment and phosphates produced in stormwater runoff, Arnold said, include significantly increasing street sweeping and placing roadside swales where feasible.

“Those are the two best management practices we have,” Arnold said.

He said other methods on the plan will include public participation events like a community cleanup day or a scouting group cleanup project, monitoring the washing of borough vehicles, and finding the source of sediment flow.

“If it’s on private property, you identify that private property,” Arnold said.

Borough solicitor Sean Gallagher said the existing stormwater management plan will be replaced with one that is more stringent and that will be more strictly enforced.

Arnold advised the borough to have public works employees document and photograph every action that would impact stormwater runoff.

Dyer remained concerned about funding for the project.

“This is going to have a significant, far-reaching impact on this borough,” he said.

Gallagher said there are low-interest loans available through the state to help municipalities carry out the stormwater plans.

He added that the plans will be available for public review at the borough building adjacent to the library, and that written public comment from residents will be accepted until Aug. 30.