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City Council approves joint pollution plan with township

City Council approved an agreement between the city and Loyalsock Township Thursday for the joint Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan.

The agreement, signed by Loyalsock Township Tuesday, was approved but with a requirement to have Larson Design Group and officials with the township and Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority meet with council in October.

The pollution reduction plan must be submitted by Oct. 2 to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Penalties and fines were possible if the memorandum had not been signed by Oct. 2, said Chelsea Myers, outgoing city planner.

The city will have Mark Benner, engineer-in-training, Gary Knarr, zoning administrator, and Adam Winder, general manager of the city streets and parks department, work on the process of nutrient reduction documentation, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said.

“This can’t be patchwork,” said Councilman Randall J. Allison, adding he is concerned about the complexities and documentation necessary to accomplish these goals.

Calculations of sediment load must be made for lowering silt counts per year. The city must reduce 99,956 pounds and the township must reduce 189,429 pounds per year and has five years to accomplish the task.

The estimate shows more sediment reduction must come from the township than out of the city. But the sediment reduction can’t come from a part of the combined sewer system area.

William E. Nichols, city finance director, asked if the city financial costs over the five-year period could be estimated.

“I think it’s a fair question,” Nichols told the Sun-Gazette. “For any budgeting purposes.”

Another factor is best management practices, such as rain gardens, trees, more pervious (porous) pavements allowing rain water to sink into the ground rather than fill up the stormwater systems and the new city street sweeper that has collected 100,000 pounds of materials since it began to be operated three months ago, Winder said.

Best management practices in the township will count toward helping to clean up the bay and the partnering city, Myers explained.

Efforts to reduce the nutrient loads getting into the river and bay can help the city to earn nutrient reduction credits that assist toward satisfying the federal Cleanwater Act, Myers said.

“We then get credits even if the best management practices are in the township?” asked Council President Jonathan Williamson.

The city and township going together to reduce sediment loads ties in with the plan to transfer the city stormwater management systems to the Williamsport Sanitary Authority, Williamson said.

While most of the best management practices can be done by private property owners or businesses, the authority transfer may result in the authority setting up stormwater management fees that can become revenue to help with meeting stormwater management requirements.

Williamson said as the authority reviews the stormwater management transfer agreement he would like to hold a joint meeting with the authority and others on council and the administration.

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