E. Cocalico studys storm sewer system

By on April 2, 2014

Like most municipalities across the state, East Cocalico Township is grappling with the impact of new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System regulations.

Known as MS4, the new rules refers to a publicly-owned systems such as ditches, curbs, catch basins, underground pipes, and othe components designed for collecting storm water and treating it prior to discharging it to the state’s surface waters.

The rules, which is going into effect this year, have become a hotbed issue over the past decade as efforts to reverse the damage to the Chesapeake Bay have taken center stage.

The regulation’s intent is to reduce the polluting effects of farm and roadway runoff as Pennsylvania waterways empty into the Bay. It is also aimed at improving water quality throughout the states.

The problem has been, however, that MS4 regulations are not a “one size fit’s all” solution. Each municipality has been given certain guidelines and suggestions for how to revise local ordinances already on the books.

Supervisors listened a status report on MS4 from engineer Brent Lied at the March 25 supervisors meeting held at the Stevens Fire Hall.

He reviewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the township and the Lancaster County Conservation District (LCCD).

“The MOU solidifies the relationship between the township and LCCD relative to various activities,” noted Lied. “It takes into account conservation’s measures while coordinating with the agriculture community, developers and the construction industry.”

The township’s MS4 permit sets guidelines for record keeping relative to ongoing erosion control enforcement and construction activities. Minor changes for the township’s 2014-2015 permit aim at improving record keeping and observation.

“The township has a good track record with a number of groups,” added Lied. “We have met with four other municipalities and their engineers to discuss how to better assist each other in better tracking permits.”

Township Manager Mark Hiester added that the township is continuing efforts to create a list of local farmers with conservation plans already in place. This effort has also been in conjunction with efforts of the Farmland Trust.

“We enjoy a great relationship with the farming community,” said Hiester. “We are trying to be respectful of their concerns, especially about right to know. Our aim is to take inventory of farms conservations and cultivation plans.”

Township officials hope to update the local storm water ordinance by May 7. According to Lied, township officials are working to map local inlets, outlets in order to meet the requirements for the 2014-2015 MS4 permit. To date, over 800 points throughout East Cocalico Township have been mapped.

“Our first obligation is to map those in points within the urban areas,” added Lied. “These are rough draft maps based on population density.”

Lied explained that the township is starting with a model ordinance provided by PA Department of Environmental Protection.

“Now each municipality has the obligation to take key aspects of that ordinance and merge it locally with their new ordinances,” stated Lied. “Like this township, other municipalities already have time tested ordinances in place which simply need reconciled with the new regulations.”

Once approved, the local storm water ordinance sets standards for both new construction and renovations relative to their impact on storm water runoff. Standards will dictate the amount of a property which can be covered by impervious material as well as set guidelines for how large a project can be without having to submit a detailed storm water management plan.

For additional information on East Cocalico Township, please visit their website at www.eastcocalicotownship.com. You can follow Gary P. Klinger on Twitter, @gpklinger, or email your feedback to klingerglobal@gmail.com.

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