Supervisors say they are frustrated by high cost, lack of proof remediation will benefit creek
By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times
POCOPSON — During Monday’s township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, officials weighed in on the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and PA Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) requirement for developing a plan to reduce the amount of sediment released into streams and creeks by storm water runoff.
Supervisors’ Chair, Steve Conary says the plan, included as part of the process to renew their storm water discharge permit, could cost the township nearly $400,000 over five years.
The requirements come from the environmental agencies’ growing concerns about erosion and sediment build-up in local waterways, including the Brandywine and its feeder streams.
Conary said the proposed improvements could use 8% of the township’s general fund – offering no way to measure whether any of the changes will actually have a positive impact to reduce sediment in waterways.
Township engineering consultants, VanDemark & Lynch, recommended improvements for meeting the reduction – however, Conary noted that all cost-effective improvements are located on private property and the township can only encourage, not require, homeowner associations and private landowners to make such improvements. Supervisors maintain that the township does not, and should not, generally spend taxpayer money to improve private property.
When asked what the township can afford, Conary told residents of plans for the Stream Team — a township committee of volunteers — to identify areas where water quality can be improved through cost effective measures, adding (the DEP) “ is asking us to spend all of this money, we don’t think it’s our place to make these fixes.”
Several neighboring townships, including Birmingham and East Marlborough, are also wrestling with the idea of spending a sizable portion of their budgets to pay for the improvements.
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In other news, Supervisors adopted the Township’s new Emergency Operations Plan. Emergency Management Coordinator, Richard Jensen authored the plan saying Supervisor Ricki Stumpo, who also serves as the township Receptionist, tested the new plan during a recent incident after a report of a downed power line on Northbrook Road. Stumpo used emergency phone numbers to dispatch PECO to the scene to make immediate repairs.
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Pocopson Park will be adding a Ga-Ga Ball Pit. According to Parks, Recreation and Trails Chair, Mike McGann – the 30 foot, octagon shaped structure is used to play a modern version of Dodge Ball. McGann said the pit can be used 10 months of the year and active recreation funds — part of a grant from local property developers — will be used to pay for construction.