PA DEP Seeks Public Comment on Proposal to Improve Stormwater Management

Updated: Thu, Nov 08 5:08 PM EST

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Acting Deputy Secretary for Water Management Christine M. Martin today announced that DEP is seeking public comment on a proposal to update and improve its stormwater management program.

"At the 15 water forums DEP and its partners held throughout Pennsylvania last spring, stormwater management was a recurring concern of citizens and local government officials," Martin said. "Pennsylvanians are demanding a more modernized approach to stormwater management that will reduce incidents of flooding, streambank erosion and other environmental hazards."

Poor stormwater management practices result in increased frequencies of flooding, streambank erosion and excessive obstruction of stream flows with silt and other particles.

The new stormwater proposal addresses the need to improve water quality, sustain water quantity (including groundwater recharge and stream baseflow) and integrate upcoming federal stormwater management obligations.

DEP is proposing a best management practices (BMP) approach that encourages minimizing runoff by allowing stormwater to soak back into the ground whenever possible. This approach will reduce stream pollution, recharge groundwater tables, enhance stream flow during times of drought, and reduce the threat of flooding and streambank erosion resulting from storms.

"Best management practices have worked well to reduce pollution to the Chesapeake Bay from farming operations, and we want to apply this same concept to stormwater," Martin said. "We look forward to working with a variety of groups to put this approach into practice to protect water quality from the impacts of stormwater."

The Commonwealth also must implement new stormwater controls under the federal Clean Water Act within the next several years. Pennsylvania has identified a need to ensure that stormwater controls remain operational and efficient throughout the life of a project.

Administratively, DEP proposes to integrate its permitting programs with stormwater management plans developed on a watershed basis under the Stormwater Management Act (Act 167). Act 167 county plans will include water quality and quantity protections implemented by municipalities within the watershed.

DEP, when appropriate, also will rely on locally sponsored plans to meet the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements for municipalities under the federal Clean Water Act municipal stormwater permitting program.

The draft stormwater proposal is available on the DEP website at www.dep.state.pa.us (directLINK "Comprehensive Stormwater Policy"). The proposal also can be obtained by contacting Kimberly Chism at (717) 787-5267, via e-mail at kchism@state.pa.us, or by writing the DEP Office of Water Management, Bureau of Watershed Management, 10th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P. O. Box 8555, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8555.

Comments, which should include the writer's name, address and telephone number, must be received by Dec. 27. DEP will accept comments by postal mail or e-mail at the addresses listed above. Facsimiles or voice mails will not be accepted.

CONTACT: Kristen Wolf, Information Specialist of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, +1-717-772-5643.