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Sanitary authority to lead in city, township pollution reduction plans

City officials are working with Loyalsock Township supervisors and Williamsport Sanitary Authority to reduce pollution and clean up waterways entering the Chesapeake Bay.

The city and township discharge stormwater to surface waters located within the bay watershed and are regulated by a pollution reduction permit that allows them to discharge stormwater from separate sewer systems.

Council’s public works committee gave a positive recommendation earlier this week to a resolution of an agreement between the city and authority to meet the state Department of Environmental Protection Agency mandate to reduce nutrients and pollutants entering the bay.

The city is splitting the cost for HRG work with the township. The city is paying $11,700 and the township will spend $11,700 on the permit.

The 65 percent of the poundage of nitrogen and phosphorus is from the township, due to it being upstream from the city, Councilman David Banks said.

Mayor Derek Slaughter said the authority would be agent for the contract with HRG, a company drafting the nutrient and pollution reduction plan. Applicants have submitted their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) individual permit applications and a Joint Pollutant Reduction Plan (PRP) to the department Oct. 1, 2018, he said. The storm water system consists of the pipes and parts that convey stormwater.

The permit needs to be amended so that proposed best management practices, such as rain gardens that capture water before it enters the discharge system, meet the state credit eligibility guidelines.

By partnering with the township the city is increasing the availability of locations to install best management practices such as rain gardens, according to Michael Miller, authority executive director.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, committee chair, said the city residents have been told to be careful with grass clippings and bring down pollution loads entering sewer systems.

“We have to get moving quickly on this,” she said.

The plan that HRG is drafting will need to be approved by council before it gets submitted Sept. 18, said Wendy Walter, authority director of compliance and safety.

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