Towns work­ing on MS4 per­mit­ting el­e­ments with vary­ing suc­cess

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ce­cil­

— Ce­cil County towns with pop­u­la­tions above 1,000 are in the process of com­ply­ing with the Na­tional Pol­lu­tant Dis­charge Elim­i­na­tion Sys­tem Per­mit from Mu­nic­i­pal Sep­a­rate Storm Sewer Sys­tems, bet­ter known as an MS4 per­mit.

Part of the process is to es­tab­lish six min­i­mum con­trol mea­sures, which in­clude pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, out­reach, in­volve­ment and par­tic­i­pa­tion. Everett “Pete” Re­ich, a mem­ber of the Per­ryville Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, said it’s been a chal­lenge to get the pub­lic con­nected.

“Since we got this MS4 per­mit, I’ve been ob­sessed with get­ting peo­ple con­nected to town hall,” Re­ich said.

Per­ryville has a web­site and so­cial me­dia pres­ence, but Re­ich is ramp­ing that up with an on­line signup where res­i­dents can tell town hall what in­for­ma­tion to share with them.

How­ever, Re­ich the par­tic­i­pa­tion he


said had hoped for has not come. He be­lieves it is be­cause peo­ple do not want their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion to be­come pub­lic.

“It used to be if you gave the town in­for­ma­tion, any­one could come and get that in­for­ma­tion,” Re­ich said.

How­ever, a mea­sure passed by the Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly has ended that pos­si­bil­ity.

“The town must deny ac­cess to it even un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act,” Re­ich said.

Re­ich said it is im­por­tant that town hall have a way to reach as many res­i­dents as pos­si­ble in the event of an ur­gent or emer­gency event. How­ever, it can also be a way to share the ev­ery­day news as well as spe­cial events.

“We have that sign by Lindy’s (Mar­ket) and at town hall, but not ev­ery­one sees that,” he said, adding that con­se­quently res­i­dents are miss­ing out on events such as Lower Ferry Fes­ti­val and Tap Into the Tav­ern. “I had a lot of peo­ple say, ‘I wish I’d known about that.’”

Ken Natale, di­rec­tor of fi­nance and ad­min­is­tra­tion for the town of North East, said the town has not got­ten that far in its MS4 process yet. He said they have not de­fined their pub­lic out­reach el­e­ment.

“We do know the hot­line has to be 24/7,” he said.

For now, North East is wait­ing on re­sults of a com­mis­sioned study that will give them di­rec­tion.

Mean­while, Re­ich hopes that word of the change in ac­cess will en­cour­age Per­ryville res­i­dents to go on­line and reg­is­ter. Go to www.per­ryvillemd. org. On the left side of the home page, click on E-alerts and there you will find the signup page. Fill in your email ad­dress and then click on the boxes for the town in­for­ma­tion you wish to re­ceive such as agen­das, meet­ing min­utes and town news.

“I know not ev­ery­one has email or in­ter­net,” Re­ich said. “But I know peo­ple who do and per­haps they can pass any in­for­ma­tion on to their neigh­bors.”

Per­ryville will sign its let­ter of in­tent to com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions by the end of this month.

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