LG files plan to address storm-water management
The Lower Gwynedd Township Board of Supervisors voted to help clean up portions of local creeks during its Sept. 11 meeting after officials explained the township would not receive a needed permit without doing so.
Lower Gwynedd Township Manager Larry Comunale told the board that the township needed to submit a notice of intent to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection after a study was done showing that local portions of the Wissahickon and Neshaminy creeks were receiving sediment. The notice of intent, according to Comunale, is a plan that the township would file to assist with the removal of the sediment.
“Both streams are impacted most significantly by sedimentation, according to the PDEP,” Comunale said. “Therefore under federal clean water regulations, the township and other municipalities that have land that drains into those creeks must reduce the amount of sediment into those creeks.”
David Connell, Lower Gwynedd Township engineer, said, “There are several things we have to do. This is all part of the NPDES [National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System] permitting process which started about 10 years ago, and this was permitting for storm sewer outlets.” Connell said the permit that the township originally received was good for five years and extended for a few years after. However, the renewal process was snagged over total maximum daily loads, or TMDL, which he said analyze a stream and determine what “bad stuff” is going in to the stream.
“In this particular case … you have two major watersheds, the Wissahickon and the Neshaminy, that drain this municipality. It was determined by the DEP that your major pollutant was sediment and you are going to have to remove sediment from your waste water,” Connell said.
Connell said the notice of intent is an application for the township’s next permit renewal, which states that the township will prepare a new storm-water management ordinance within one year after the next permit period and will remove a certain level of sediments from wastewater a year after the next permit. The township will clean out storm sewers and sweep streets of sediments, he said.
Board Vice Chairwoman Kathleen Hunsicker asked if Connell thought the DEP would accept what the township planned to do. Connell said he was confident because his engineering firm was heavily involved in forming the program that the DEP uses to accept the applications.
Connell said that salt used for snow removal, while technically considered a pollutant, was not included as a sediment and the township would not have to include that in its application.
Comunale said this was the “most cost-effective” way to meet the requirements, noting there was a range of actions the township could have taken “to get credit for reducing sediment into the creek.”
In other business, Comunale explained why many of the water mains throughout the township have begun to break.
Comunale said the breaks can be attributed to the Ambler Borough water tank recoating project on Houston Road in the Ambler section of the township that has forced the borough to have to temporarily accept water from North Wales, causing the water pressure to change and breaking the mains.
He said he understood that the situation was an inconvenience to residents, especially since some of the water mains are breaking on streets that have just been repaved. He said the situation should be fixed soon, once the water tank in Ambler has been reinstated.