West Penn to revise water extraction ordinance
Revisions are scheduled to be made to West Penn Township’s water extraction ordinance.
Board solicitor Paul J. Datte informed the township’s board of supervisors Monday morning that he and township engineer Bill Anders held a conference call with water extraction attorney Jordan Yeager.
Datte said Yeager will be making some revisions to the existing draft ordinance, and that once he is done, he will get some dates for the township to schedule a meeting among Yeager, Datte, Anders, hydrogeologist Phillip Getty and the township’s planning commission and West Penn Township Water Resource & Planning Steering Committee.
Earlier this month, supervisors approved the planning commission’s recommendations that the board allow a meeting between those parties to discuss water extraction.
Datte said at that time the report from the teleconference would likely be shared at the board’s Feb. 4 meeting.
That decision came after the West Penn Township Water Resource & Planning Steering Committee and planning commission met last month to discuss issues identified in Yeager’s report.
Planners recommended that Datte, Yeager, Getty and Anders meet to review the proposed draft ordinance and come up with a final draft ordinance that would be turned back over to the planners and then the board of supervisors.
Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Tony Prudenti said at that time questions on the memorandum from Yeager need to be addressed.
Prudenti said the board is looking for help in interpreting the water extraction ordinance.
Getty’s comments included:
• Yeager says “local governments have a role and a duty in local environmental protection.” Getty says the Delaware River Basin Commission pre-empts the township.
• Getty outlines ways for the township to classify water users; large, under 100K gallons per day, or Class I, small/single family homes, less than 1,000 gallons per day, Class II, moderately large consumers, or Class III, over 100K gallons per day, governed by the DRBC.
• Yeager recommends asking the hydrogeologist how he came up with 1,000 gallons per day as the threshold for a “small” homeowner, what are the assumptions, and are they defensible?
• The township should differentiate on whether water is returned to the watershed or permanently removed.
• Getty recommends negotiating with each applicant on a case-by-case basis. The outside lawyer says spell out the details of all information required for every applicant, treat each applicant equally.
• Yeager recommends asking the hydrogeologist for standards for the hydrogeological impact evaluation and to revise for West Penn Township geology.
• Getty says an extractor should be limited to the water beneath his property. Yeager says the origin of water is difficult to prove, more defensible if based on measurable data, not property lines.