Stormwater system takeover could solve two critical issues

Whenever there is a major rainstorm locally, there is a strong likelihood that Grafius Run in Williamsport will overflow, causing groundwater flooding and damage to streets and homes in several neighborhoods.

The legitimate complaints and concerns about the Grafius Run situation go back at least a half century. Lots of Bandaids have been put on the problem but a long-term solution has never been found.

But necessity, it has been said, is the mother of invention.

The city and the Williamsport Sanitary Authority are working together on the takeover of management of the city’s stormwater system in anticipation of state Department of Environmental Protection requirements to reduce sediment entering the river as part of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

With the takeover will come new fees for authority customers in the city, who may pay on average an additional $70 a year fee starting July 1.

The goal of the sanitary authority is to remove 10 percent of the sediment heading into the Susquehanna River locally.

It’s a goal without options. Pennsylvania’s orders to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed carry these types of requirements, with severe penalties for failure.

In the midst of reducing sediment city-wide, the stormwater plan will target problems associated with Grafius Run.

We wish this could be done for free. But that’s nothing more than a wish. The costs to study and execute the changes necessary may be paid for in part by state or federal grant funding, but those sources are drying up these days.

But the sediment issues must be solved. And Grafius Run flooding is an ongoing problem for the city.

And ultimately, the Williamsport Sanitary Authority takeover of management of the stormwater system is probably the more logical way to serve both masters.

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