Friday, September 29, 2017

13 Municipality Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership Assembles Team To Review Scientific Recommendations

A group of 13 Montgomery County municipalities and four wastewater treatment plants in the Wissahickon Watershed have voted on the selection of a Technical Review Committee to support the ongoing work of the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership.
This voluntary, multi-municipal partnership is exploring alternative approaches to the standard Total Maximum Daily Load regulations imposed by the EPA on water bodies that have been listed as “impaired.”
Ultimately, the work of this group will result in a shared Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Wissahickon Creek that will guide municipal actions and investments in stormwater infrastructure and wastewater treatment plant upgrades in the coming years.
The role of the Technical Review Committee selected last week is to evaluate and examine the findings of Temple University and the Environmental Finance Center of University of Maryland, who are advisors to the Partnership in preparing the scientific and financial aspects of the Water Quality Improvement Plan, respectively.
The Technical Review Committee selected is comprised of the consulting firm, Kleinfelder, professor of Freshwater Ecosystem Ecology at Bloomsburg University, Dr. Steven T. Rier, and former executive director of PA Infrastructure Investment Authority, Dr. Paul Marchetti.
“Early in the selection process, the Technical Review Subcommittee determined that a hybrid of individuals and a consulting firm was needed to review this complex process.  It was an unexpected decision, but one that has resulted in a team that should be a great asset to the project,” says Drew Shaw, Section Chief at the Montgomery County Planning Commission.
Kleinfelder, a consulting firm based out of Massachusetts, specializes in overcoming technical and regulatory challenges relating to water resources. They have been performing surface water quality assessment, sampling, and modeling studies for more than 30 years, with particular specialty in nutrient impacts and TMDL studies.
Dr. Paul Marchetti served as PennVEST’s Executive Director until his retirement in June.  He managed the state’s primary source of water infrastructure funds. He is well versed in financing strategies and the regulatory obligation of both stormwater permitted communities and wastewater treatment plant operations.
Dr. Steven T. Rier is a professor at Bloomsburg University, where he teaches and conducts research on the many aspects of stream ecology, focusing on the role that microorganisms such as algae, bacteria, and fungi play in regulating stream ecosystem function and how human impacts can alter these dynamics.
Dr. Laura Toran, Professor at the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Temple University, believes that the technical assistance provided by this panel of experts will be invaluable to the process.
She is particularly interested in the feedback that will be provided by Dr. Rier on the monitoring she has conducted.
“One of the first questions he asked me was, ‘When can I visit the stream?’ That is a really good sign that he is going to dig into the project,” says Dr. Toran.
The Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership management committee continues to meet monthly and is expecting to complete the Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Wissahickon Creek by 2019.
To learn more, visit the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership webpage.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association website.

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