On November 16, twenty five citizens from across our region came together at the Jenkintown Library to learn how they can work with their communities to improve water quality by managing our largest source of pollution: stormwater runoff. We were proud to host this program with partners including the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and PennFuture.
Recent changes to the municipal stormwater-permitting program (MS4 or NPDES program) of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) mandate public involvement in developing the plans required by DEP to reduce pollutants such as sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus that degrade.
We were fortunate to have experts Susan Myerov, AICP, Watersheds Program Director with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Mike Helbing, Staff Attorney with PennFuture provide an informative presentation which you can find here.
They provided background information, explained the most recent updates and recommended specific strategies to ensure that their communities develop plans that will have the greatest environmental benefit. For some communities that are already required to plan for and implement pollution reduction strategies through a Waste Load Allocation (WLA) program, attention will be given to ensuring that these plans are proactive and take into consideration public comments. These changes are already in place and require immediate attention.
For our municipalities, a new planning process will need to be under way over the next 12 to 15 months, so that thorough analysis and community engagement can result in a new Pollution Reduction Plan for each impaired stream. This comprehensive approach has not been required until now.
These proposed changes should lead to progress in beginning to heal our damaged waterways over the coming years and decades. We look forward to working with our communities and citizens to develop and implement water quality improvements.