Bay Journal

Topics: Local Government

Small PA communities say no to stormwater mandate

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This is the way the 4,000 residents in the small borough of Greencastle, PA, figure it: They occupy a mere 1.6 square miles. They have a state-of-the-art sewage plant. There are no farms in the town. Almost all of the housing developments have rain-catching basins. A streetsweeper cleanses streets frequently.

They say they are not sending a lot of polluted stormwater into the lone small stream that runs through town, later joining the Potomac River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. The stream, Moss Spring, trickles less than a mile through the town, and half of it moves underground through protected pipes.

Yet, as part of the Bay cleanup effort, they have been ordered by the state to cut 94,000 pounds of sediment from area streams by 2023 to make up for the town’s contribution to stormwater runoff.

Town officials estimate it would cost nearly $2 million to accomplish the reductions, and the municipal budget would soar by 90%. So, they’re not going to do it.

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Managing the Chesapeake Bay requires sound policies at the local level that reduce pollution and protect ecosystems within its 64,000-square-mile watershed. Ultimately, the success of efforts to protect the region’s environment requires support from local governments.

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