DEP issues order for Weissport to comply with storm water issues
Weissport is in the middle of compliance issues with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Weissport Mayor Jonathan Troutman said that he believes that former council members did not realize the importance of complying with required storm water requirements when it failed to file annual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program reports.
"When I got a letter addressed to me from DEP that I personally would be held responsible, I had no choice but to follow up and try to meet the requirements'" said Troutman. Troutman said that DEP is giving the borough until Feb. 25 to comply, with a possible 15 day extension, to adopt ordinances.
Troutman said that he believes the issue dates back to 2003 and that if former members had filed reports from the beginning and kept them updated, there would be no issues.
Troutman recommended that the council members hire Spotts, Stevens and McCoy to file overdue paperwork at an estimated cost of $1,500. Council unanimously approved the request.
NPDES regulates storm water discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), construction activities, and industrial activities. Compliance is to prevent storm water runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local surface waters such as streams, rivers, lakes or coastal waters.
The initial phase, issued by DEP in 1990, required medium and large cities with populations of 100,000 or more to obtain NPDES permit coverage for their storm water discharges. Then during the second phase, issued in 1999, compliance was required by small communities, such as Weissport, to obtain NPDES permit coverage for storm water discharge.
To comply, Weissport is required to develop and implement a storm water management program (SWMP) to reduce the contamination of storm water runoff and prohibit illicit discharges.
Troutman said that to meet the requirements DEP is requiring the borough to adopt storm water ordinances. He said that DEP has provided sample ordinances that the community can adopt. The ordinances will regulate erosion control, illicit discharge and storm water discharge.
Att. Michael Greek, who was introduced Monday night as Weissport's new solicitor, said that he would like to review the ordinances and could have them prepared for council's review by the next meeting. He added that he could have the ordinances advertised for adoption at the March 7 meeting, which would meet DEP's deadline, if the borough was granted the 15 day extension.
"I believe they will grant the extension, especially when they see that you are trying to comply by hiring the engineering firm," said Att. Greek.
In another DEP issue, Mayor Troutman said that the borough is in danger with it's flood control management project.
"Weissport has received a minimal designation," said Troutman. He said that with maintenance and having people move vehicles from the edge of the levee, it will meet full compliance.
"There are a few trees and brush that need to be cut down," said Troutman. "This is actually a simple matter of maintenance," he added.
Council member Gene Kershner asked council to table the "Young Lungs at Play" ordinance because it may impact the Weissport Redneck Festival.
"We need to do some research and see how far it goes," said Kershner.