MECAB discusses DEP requirements
From North Catasauqua to Wilson Borough, Northampton to Freemansburg, representatives and others from local governments met March 28 in the Northampton Borough Municipal Building’s council chambers for the latest briefing of the state’s MS4 permit requirements to reduce pollution in the waterways.
Christine Mildner, project designer/municipal engineering services with Barry Isett & Associates Inc., opened the meeting of the Mid Eastern Counties Association of Boroughs. Mildner said the prior annual reports, 2005-2013, involving the pollution reduction plans, had multiple extensions. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is serious regarding the mandates that flow from the federal government.
New and renewal MS4 permit applications were due to DEP in 2017. The next round of the MS4 permit process is for 2018-23 and involves stormwater upgrades and an updated stormwater ordinance.
Northampton Borough has been working toward goals to reduce pollution for years, especially since it has in its borders the Hokendauqua Creek, which flows into the Lehigh River.
Mentioning the MS4 permitting is large in scale, Mildner said each municipality in Pennsylvania is under dictates to meet water quality.
The MS4 permit has expanded now to include mapping and has installed measures and inspections for water quality.
Watersheds and streams are to be inventoried and mapped. Where the water discharges and how the waters are impaired are some of the aspects studied. Also involved are watershed restoration, wastewater reuse, green initiatives, reduced impervious surfaces and property initiatives.
Mildner said a more environmental approach to constructing driveways in new housing communities, sewer plants and erosion along waterways are part of the equation.
A concern for the boroughs is the cost associated with such a massive endeavor.