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Stormwater transfer is in whose hands?

The Williamsport Sanitary Authority and City Council differ on who signs on the dotted line to transfer stormwater intake systems from the city to the authority.

“Quite frankly, the stormwater train appears endlessly off the tracks,” said Steven W. Cappelli, chairman of the authority.

The matter has been back and forth between the parties for two years, he said.

“The authority requested six months ago revised transfer agreement instruments from the city,” Cappelli said, adding how the stumbling block appears to be who is responsible for what repairs.

“These revised documents were meant to clarify the controlling issues of Grafius Run and the joint Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System between the city and Loyalsock Township,” Cappelli said.

The apparent impasse is embarrassing, he said, with equal culpability all around.

To date, the authority has not received anything back from the city, Cappelli said.

“Where stormwater is concerned, the ball has been in the authority’s court for almost a year,” said Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, chair of the public works committee. “Council sent back the resolution and we thought everything was ready to sit down to iron out the final details. Obviously, it got dropped by the authority, so we sit waiting for their next move.”

Cappelli pointed toward the authority administration as failing to get the agreement done. But authority officials said they are more capable of managing the repairs and replacements beneath Williamsport real estate.

The staff was supposed to review the proposed corresponding (equivalent residential or household or unit) fee schedule. To get this done, authority staff would need to perform more cost analysis and due diligence on the intake system, he said, adding the board has been waiting for answers.

The answer for paying for the repairs and replacements needed to make the system function better and fulfill requirements by the Environmental Protection Agency to help to clean up the Chesapeake Bay of nutrients killing aquatic life may be regionalization, the parties agreed.

“When you consider the great strides being made each week towards recertification of our levee system, it’s inexcusable that formulation of a stormwater program, begun two years ago, remains incomplete,” Cappelli said.

“A county-wide solution would be preferable,” said Jason Fitzgerald, who is president of Penn Strategies, a Harrisburg firm that is the paid city economic development consulting company.

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