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West Goshen Township is in the process of stormwater improvements, remediation, and planning. The township initially started working on stormwater ordinances and remediation in 2003 as part of county-wide Act 167 Plan. West Goshen has had an MS4 permit for 18 years now and it was recently renewed in 2019. In addition, the township has started working on some pollutant reduction projects and hopes to begin construction on the first one in a month or two.
A history of stormwater remediation (in a nutshell)...
There are approximately 7,250 permitted Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), including large and small MS4s that exist nationwide, operating under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) MS4 permit. The NPDES MS4 permit requires permittees to develop and implement a comprehensive Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) that must include pollution prevention measures, treatment or removal techniques, monitoring, use of legal authority, and other appropriate measures to control the quality of storm water discharged to the storm drains and thence to waters of the United States.
The MS4 stormwater management program is intended to improve the nation’s waterways by reducing the quantity of pollutants including oil grease from roadways, pesticides from lawns, sediment from construction sites, and carelessly discarded trash such as cigarette butts, paper wrappers, and plastic bottles. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when deposited into nearby waterways, these pollutants can impair the waterways and discourage recreational use of the resource, contaminate drinking water supplies, and interfere with the natural habitat for fish, other aquatic organisms, and wildlife.
Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters
The challenges for stormwater management in West Goshen Township…
The township faces several challenges in improving stormwater infrastructure. One of the main challenges is the stormwater facilities that were installed more than 30 years ago and do not meet current standards. In addition to facility standards being unmet, many older pipes are deteriorating rapidly which results in significant costs for the township to improve or replace. Another challenge is that the MS4 permit required by the EPA requires pollutant reduction and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) on three of the watersheds in West Goshen Township. For these requirements there has historically been a severe lack of funding as well as unfunded regulatory requirements with significant scope.
Although the improvements on the stormwater system are not as visible to residents, the purpose of the retrofits and upgrades that West Goshen Township is currently implementing will result in great improvements in water quality for streams throughout the township. In addition, controlling the volume and velocity of stormwater provides important functions to residents including flood risk management and storm damage prevention. Finally, groundwater recharge is an important part of stormwater management as it helps maintain the base flow in nearby streams and wetlands, replenishing drinking water supplies and reducing the overall volume of runoff which, in turn, reduces or eliminates erosion. Most importantly, as we protect our water resources and ecosystems with effective stormwater management, we invest in our future.