Joint permit for pollution reduction plan could cost $5M
A pollution reduction plan by the city and Loyalsock Township to remove 10 percent of the sediment heading into the waterways leading to the Chesapeake Bay will cost a combined $5 million, officials said.
City Council reviewed the five-year Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan, hearing the city’s bill would be $1.7 million to build a series of “best management practices” projects to reduce the sediment from getting into stormwater systems.
Loyalsock Township’s costs are more in the $3.3 million range, according to Michael D. Miller, executive director of the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority.
The city and township have a memorandum of understanding to get the plan to the state Department of Environmental Protection by Sept. 20, Miller said.
There are an estimated 25 primary and 16 secondary projects that will help to reduce sediment, such as wood chip infiltration and swale construction.
Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, chair of the city public works committee, said the water authority will have to hold public meetings to go over other aspects of pollution reduction with people, such as what they can and can’t put in their drains.
Katz noted the effort of Wendy Walter, authority safety and compliance officer, on the educational end of the permit process.
Joseph Pawlak, city interim finance director, said the city started budgeting money and planned on allocating funds over the years to support the cost.
Once the permit is issued, the city has five years to complete the best management practices projects, Miller said.
Walter said the preliminary engineering costs are not final.
Council President Randall J. Allison said the permit process between the city and township is a “big first step on a path the city must go down.”
Councilwoman Liz Miele, looking ahead to the next five years and that permit renewal, said it won’t be as easy moving forward to meet the next 10 percent reduction as required by law.
Councilman Vincent Pulizzi said it was prudent to put some budget money into the projects but also to seek state grant possibilities for the city to meet the $300,000-a-year estimated project cost.