SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Public comment on the Salisbury Township Pollutant Reduction Plan is being sought.
The time period for comment is prior to an expected vote on the PRP at the 7 p.m. July 26 township board of commissioners’ meeting.
The July 12 commissioners’ meeting is canceled, Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich announced.
A public hearing 7 p.m. June 28, led by Salisbury Township Consulting Engineer David J. Tettemer of Keystone Consulting Engineers, Inc., was held prior to the township commissioners’ meeting.
The hearing was attended by one township resident, Joseph Hebelka, former secretary of the township planning commission.
Helbelka and a reporter for The Press asked several questions of Tettemer during the approximate 15-minute hearing.
The PRP outlines a strategy to reduce sediment-loading in streams by at least 10 percent over the next five years.
It’s expected the township will spend an estimated $1.2 million to implement the PRP.
The goal of the PRP is to reduce debris, soil, cinders, sedimentation and the like from entering the township’s stormwater system and flowing into rivers, creeks and ponds.
The 30-day time period for public review began after the public hearing.
The 171-page PRP is available at the Salisbury Township Municipal Building, 2900 S. Pike Ave., during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A copy of the plan may be read and downloaded on the Salisbury Township website: salisburytownshippa.org/township-news/public-hearing-regarding-pollutant-reduction-plan-prp.
The township must meet the PRP mandate in order to receive a renewal of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which expires Feb. 28, 2019.
Salisbury must submit its PRP Aug. 4 to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which has six months to review it.
Salisbury is one of several Lehigh Valley municipalities required by the DEP to reduce sedimentation in streams, rivers and lakes.
“The DEP is requiring the township to remove about 10 percent of its pollutants as part of MS4,” Tettemer explained at the public hearing.
MS4 stands for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. The “M” stands for “Municipal.” The numeral “4” represents the four “S” first letters of each word in Separate Storm Sewer System.
Information about MS4 is on the township website: salisburytownshippa.org/township-government/departments/ms4-public-education.
“We’ve gone through and done the calculations and determined about 200,000 pounds [of pollutants] needs to be removed from the storm sewer per year,” Tettemer continued.
The sedimentation would be removed from Salisbury Township-owned properties, said Tettemer.
The deadline for the township to fulfill the PRP is 2023.
Tettemer was asked what the determining factors were in selecting which municipalities needed to implement a PRP. Tettemer said it depends on a municipality’s location. Rural areas with uninterrupted streams fare better.
“Cedar Creek doesn’t have to be addresed in this plan,” Hebelka said, adding, “Obviously, water flows into Salisbury Township. I think at some point you should look at adjoining municipalities.”
Hebelka singled out the boroughs of Fountain Hill, Emmaus and the township of South Whitehall.
“I think it would be good to partner with those,” Hebelka said.
Area municipalities that must implement a PRP include Upper Saucon, Lower Saucon and Upper Milford townships.
“Essentially, everyone’s going to have to do this,” Tettemer said.
Commissioner Joanne Ackerman asked if the DEP would prioritize township projects in its PRP. “Do you have to tell them where you’re going to start?” she asked.
“No,” Tettemer replied. “It’s up to the township.”
“Is this something that’s going to have to be squeezed into this year’s budget,” Ackerman asked.
“No,” Tettemer replied.
“Are you going to submit us estimates?” Ackerman asked.
“Yes,” Tettemer replied.
Hebelka recommended public involvement in implementing the PRP. “When it comes to planning that, that’s a teaching project for high school students.”
“For a lot of this, Public Works will do it,” Tettemer said. “For some, you will need a contractor.”
Concerning the low turnout for the PRP public hearing, it was joked that if it had to do with the collection of residential lawn grass clippings, more residents may have attended.
It turns out that blowing grass clippings into the street where they can be carried during a rainfall into storm sewers is the kind of activity that a PRP intends to eliminate.
“People have been getting notices for violation of that,” Salisbury Township MS4 Coordinator, Building Code Enforcement Officer, Assistant Zoning Officer and Building Inspector Sandy Nicolo said.
Hebelka, referring to the 171-page PRP, asked, “Is there a condensed version for our residents?”
Bonaskiewich asked Tettemer if a shorter version of the PRP could be placed on the website. He said the shorter version, which is 27 pages, presented at the May 24 township workshop, could be put on the website.