Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Center For Watershed Protection: Helping PA Municipalities Work Together To Achieve Cleaner Water

In Pennsylvania, many local jurisdictions are grappling with the complexities of stormwater and watershed restoration practices as they develop and implement Pollution Reduction Plans as part of their EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit requirements.  
In some parts of Pennsylvania, local regulated jurisdictions are uniting at the county-level to combine resources and identify the projects that are most cost-effective and beneficial to the larger community.
The Blair County Intergovernmental Stormwater Committee (ISC) is an example of such a collaborative.
The Intergovernmental Stormwater Committee consists of eleven Blair County governments and each government appoints a representative to serve on the committee.
The Committee is made up of appointees from the following communities Allegheny Township, Antis Township, Bellwood Borough, Blair Township, City of Altoona, Duncansville Borough, Frankstown Township, Freedom Township, Hollidaysburg Borough, Logan Township and Blair County.
The function of the Committee to work collectively to achieve our individual and group needs in addressing Federal and State Stormwater regulations.
In 2017, the Center for Watershed Protection worked with the ISC to develop and submit a Pollution Reduction Plan that covers all the MS4 permitted jurisdictions in the County.
The Center worked closely with Township and Borough representatives to assemble geographic data to define the sewersheds and determine existing baseline loads from which to measure pollutant reductions.
Then, using information provided by the Committee, combined with field observations, the Center determined the reductions from existing Best Management Practices (BMPs). The Center evaluated the potential of the BMPs to be retrofitted for cost-effective pollutant reductions to achieve permit requirements.
The Center provided the Committee with a list of BMPs and the specific calculation details that achieve the required reductions as part of the final Pollution Reduction Plan.
The Center coordinated a meeting between committee representatives and Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the specific components of the plan and the load reduction calculations for specific BMPs.
The Plan was submitted, reviewed, and approved by the DEP.  The ISC has since begun implementation of financing strategies and high priority projects.
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay was instrumental in pulling the Stormwater Committee together and contracted with the Environmental Finance Center of the University of Maryland to work on funding issues for the Committee.  Click Here for the case study developed from this project.
Other partners in assisting the Stormwater Committee was the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and American Rivers.
Click Here for more specifics on the ISC Stormwater Committee efforts.
For more information on programs, initiatives, assistance and upcoming events, visit the Center for Watershed Protection website.
(Reprinted from the July 2018 Runoff Rundown newsletter from the Center for Watershed Protection.)

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