Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stormwater Permit In Lititz Boon to Rock ‘n’ Roll Town, Water Quality, Sets Precedent

Thanks to the likes of the Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Willie Nelson and other music stars, the Chesapeake Bay will benefit from cleaner upstream waters in one Susquehanna River tributary.
The Lancaster County Conservation District and the Department of Environmental Protection have authorized a permit for an innovative post-construction stormwater management plan for Rock Lititz, the $100 million rehearsal campus catering to the rock-concert industry.
In a letter dated October 21, 2014, the conservation district notified Rock Lititz it had approved the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for discharges associated with construction activities from the Rock Lititz site in Lititz, Pennsylvania, to the Santo Domingo Creek, a tributary of Lititz Run.
It’s the first time the conservation district, which issued the permit on behalf of DEP, has approved floodplain restoration to tackle stormwater issues at this grand scale.
LandStudies, Inc. designed and oversaw construction of the restored floodplain that runs through the 96.3-acre Rock Lititz site to reduce runoff peak rates, improve water quality and recharge groundwater, thereby complying with state and local stormwater management requirements.
Although DEP has previously approved floodplain restoration for its ecological benefits — which include the creation of wildlife habitat, reduced streambank erosion, and natural beauty — this permit ties floodplain restoration to more economic benefits — in this case, reduced stormwater runoff.
Mark Gutshall, principal of LandStudies, predicts that in the future, more partnerships between public and private organizations will focus on what he calls Economic Ecology: “Better than a piecemeal approach to water-resource challenges is a holistic one that examines the most effective restoration methods for an entire watershed — in terms of both environmental and economic gain.” He adds, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and floodplain restoration can prevent a lot of costs and damages.”
Since floodplain restoration also reduces sediment pollution in streams, as shown in DEP’s 2013 study of Big Spring Run, the approval sets the stage not just for rock stars, whose top-secret rehearsals will promote job growth and other economic boosts to Lancaster County, but also for how Pennsylvania may meet regulations to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay in the future.
Gutshall said, “The is a step forward. Pennsylvania is moving toward a more watershed-based approach to addressing the impacts of stormwater runoff.”

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