The East Allen Township Board of Supervisors received a presentation from Hanover Engineering on MS4 requirements during their February 14 meeting.
A new MS4 term will take effect in 2019, during which time the township must have a pollution reduction plan in place for its stormwater systems. If not, it may face steep fines from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
MS4, or the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, is a township-wide cleanup of stormwater systems. Oil, grease, pesticides, sediment, toxic chemicals, and more pollution travel into area wetlands from snow and rain. This causes increased flooding, sediment build-up, erosion, invasive species, and dirty drinking water for both humans and animals. MS4’s main goal is to reduce this pollution.
“We can certainly do a much better job than we have been doing,” said Jason Smith, Senior Scientist at Hanover Engineering.
Every single stream in the township is subject to the required pollution reduction plan. Siltation from the area’s many agricultural properties has impacted these streams. By the next MS4 term, which starts in 2019 and ends in 2024, siltation in these bodies of water must be reduced by 10 percent.
Smith warned that this can be very costly, ranging anywhere from $500,000 to as much as $5 million. Solutions include adding more vegetation to stream banks in order to reduce erosion or building entirely new stormwater systems.
However, while the plan is costly, Smith says it comes with many benefits. Improved water quality means better drinking water, less flooding, more recreational opportunities, increased fishing, and less maintenance costs.
In addition to stormwater maintenance, the township also discussed road improvement plans for Monocacy Drive. Township engineer James Milot said the road is in “pretty bad shape.” He explained that a cheap fix is merely a “Band-Aid” and recommended that the township pursue a complete reconstruction of the road in two parts.
“If we are going to do this,” he said, “let [us] do this right.”
Supervisors and public works officials agreed. The project will move forward to public bid and potentially start this summer.