Thursday, November 20, 2014

PennFuture Appeal Settlement Improves DEP Stormwater Management Program

PennFuture and the Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday filed a Stipulation of Settlement outlining improvements to Pennsylvania's municipal stormwater permitting system.
Stormwater from rain and snow events is a significant cause of water pollution in our streams and rivers. As the precipitation runs down rooftops and over dirty streets and sidewalks, it collects pollutants such as oil, fertilizers, litter, and pet waste, with potentially harmful impacts to drinking water sources.
In areas that drain to the municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) found in many Pennsylvania municipalities, that polluted runoff drains directly into our streams and rivers without being treated.
As a result of the settlement, DEP will propose a revised version of Pennsylvania's general permit for small MS4s, known as PAG-13, which will be available for public comment next year.
The revised PAG-13 would improve the environmental protection afforded by DEP's permitting program. It would allow for enhanced public review of municipalities' plans for reducing stormwater pollution, and it would strengthen DEP's processes for reviewing and evaluating permit applications.
DEP will hold workshops for municipal officials next year to help them create effective stormwater management plans and meet their obligations to reduce stormwater pollution.
"This is a great win for all Pennsylvanians who drink from, swim in, live or play near our rivers, streams, and lakes," said Mike Helbing, staff attorney for PennFuture and one of the lead negotiators of the settlement. "We thank DEP for its efforts to improve the stormwater permitting process in a way that will benefit municipalities and lead to cleaner waters for all Pennsylvania citizens."
The settlement was filed with the Environmental Hearing Board as part of a resolution to an appeal filed by PennFuture in July 2013.
In its appeal, PennFuture challenged DEP's approval of permit coverage for Upper Gwynedd Township's Small MS4 under PAG-13, Pennsylvania's general permit for Small MS4s. PennFuture sought improvements in both the township's permit application and DEP's MS4 permitting program.
The environmental organization argued that the existing permitting program did not adequately ensure the quality of plans for reducing stormwater pollution, and it did not allow enough opportunity for the public to review or comment on stormwater management plans in their communities.
"PennFuture remains committed to ensuring that Pennsylvanians benefit from effective stormwater management practices that not only reduce pollution but also save money and beautify our communities," said Cindy Dunn, president and CEO of PennFuture. "We will continue to pursue strong stormwater management planning through the public participation process."
For more general information on stormwater management permits, visit DEP’s Municipal Stormwater MS4 webpage.

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner