Northampton Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Council hears cost of mandates for clean waterways

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Municipalities have until 2025 to comply with state, federal regulations

Northampton Borough Council was informed at the June 21 meeting it could cost the borough up to a quarter of a million dollars to comply with state and federal mandates required to keep pollutants and sediment from entering local waterways.

Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said the waters involved are the Hokendauqua, Dry Run and Catasauqua creeks and Lehigh River.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking an aggressive approach resulting from regulations from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the waters.

Brobst said municipalities have until 2025 to meet these regulations, called MS4, set forth by the DEP.

Councilman Ed Pany said the unfunded mandate “is just another layer of bureaucracy” that will cost the taxpayers a large amount of money.

Brobst said the borough has already been taking a proactive approach by keeping the street sweeper on the roads and by keeping storm inlets free of debris. Bank stabilization, such as planting shrubs, could be part of the program to eradicate soil erosion by the creeks.

Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. bemoaned the earlier DEP approval of the removal of the dam on the Hokendauqua Creek, which left the water a muddy brown color for a period of time.

“We presently have five years to do something,” Brobst said, adding as the discussion went on, “I can’t go back in history.”