Lack of state DEP support for regional effort cited, concerns about spending
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTImes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — At least two local towns are in no rush to join the Brandywine Valley Association’s attempt to regionalize efforts to meet increasingly tougher standards by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to limit sediment and other discharge into local water ways.
While Birmingham totally rejected the idea last week, East Marlborough isn’t going to be rushing into any agreement at this point. A couple of the sticking points: concerns that required monthly meetings would prove costly — especially if Township Engineer Jim Hatfield is required to attend and the lack of formal endorsement by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Township Manager Jane Laslo said she declined to have BVA’s Jane Fava come and make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors Monday night, because while she initially liked the concept, the more she read on it, the more concerns popped up.
“Initially, I was swayed by it,” she said of the proposal. “But the more I read, the more I wonder about it.”
As the discussion continued, supervisors appeared to agree.
“It’s premature,” Supervisors chair Cuyler Walker said. “When we know more…maybe. We’re not prepared to start a process without knowing more. But we’d certainly like to talk more.”
Supervisors acknowledge that they will have to cope with this issue at some point, with a number of storm water retention basins — currently under control of local homeowner associations, not to mention some responsibilities for runoff from U.S. 1, but the lack of commitment by the DEP to BVA’s approach at this point makes them want to wait and study it more.
More than a dozen local towns have agreed, Fava said, either in principle or by formal vote, as Pocopson has, to join the effort, including Honey Brook, London Grove, East and West Brandywine and East and West Bradford. She said the goal is to get 20 to 25 of the 40 towns hit by the EPA standards to join the effort.
Fava, who coordinates the Red Streams Blue program for the BVA, told supervisors Monday night that EPA is going to force local towns to address the issue — a challenge in a state like Pennsylvania, with limited regional management resources. Without working together, Fava said, it would be very difficult for local towns to meet their EPA requires to cut sediment discharge into local streams.