Salisbury Press

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Tuesday, July 31, 2018 by Paul Willistein in Local News

Unanimous vote adopts pollutant reduction plan

The pollutant reduction plan has been adopted for Salisbury Township.

In a unanimous 5-0 vote, commissioners approved the PRP, which might cost $1.2 million to implement during the next five years.

Salisbury Township Commissioner Joanne Ackerman made the motion, seconded by Commissioner Rodney Conn, to bring the resolution to a vote at the July 26 township meeting.

Commissioners held one meeting in July, rather than the two monthly meetings usually held in the meeting room of the municipal building, 2900 S. Pike Ave.

Commissioners next meet 7 p.m. Aug. 9 and 23.

The township must meet the PRP mandate to receive renewal of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which expires Feb. 28, 2019.

Deadline for implementing the PRP, dating from granting a new NPDES permit, is 2023.

Salisbury Township Consulting Engineer David J. Tettemer of Keystone Consulting Engineers, Inc., expects the PRP to cost the township $1.2 million during the five-year period, 2019-2023.

The goal of the PRP is to reduce debris, soil, cinders, sedimentation and the like from entering the township stormwater system and flowing into rivers, creeks and ponds in the township.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is requiring Salisbury to reduce its sediment load by 10 percent, or 198,354.61 pounds, i.e., about 200,000 pounds, per year, Tettemer said during his May 24 township workshop presentation on the PRP.

Prior to the PRP vote at the July 26 meeting, portions of emails from John Zovko, an eastside township resident, were read into the meeting minutes. Zovko claims township storm sewer improvements resulted in erosion of the bank of a creek traversing his property.

In an email to Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners President Robert Martucci Jr., Salisbury Township MS4 Coordinator, Building Code Enforcement Officer, Assistant Zoning Officer and Building Inspector Sandy Nicolo, and the Salisbury Press, Zovko stated he was unable to attend the June 28 township public hearing on the PRP.

In his email, Zovko stated to Nicolo, who visited the resident’s property, that “there is quite a bit of erosion due to the pipe and catches installed by the township on Public Road to alleviate the water issues for those residents.

“Based on my estimates,” Zovko continued in his email, “I’ve lost approximately 250 cubic yards (6 feet wide by 140 feet long by 8 feet deep) of soil (and counting) since this Public Road project, not to mention trees and brush.

“I don’t know how you are converting that to pounds, which the engineers are citing as their load reduction measure, but I am sure it is quite a bit of tonnage. This is only my property. There are a few properties above mine that are similarly eroded,” Zovko stated.

“From my perspective, stream bank restoration on my property would not only help the township meet its requirements of the DEP for PRP, but would rectify a problem created when the township installed the catches and storm pipe from Public Road and directed that water into the stream on my and my neighbors’ properties. As we discussed at our meeting, there weren’t any issues of erosion prior to that project being completed.”

Zovko stated that the creek runs parallel and to the north of Broadway on the township’s east side. “It has been there forever without incident, but that all changed when [the] township decided to relieve the stormwater problems for residents on Public Road and above by putting in stormwater catches, some curbing and a large pipe directly into this existing creek.

“When I went to cut my lawn for the first time this year I have noticed significant deterioration of the banks with holes now existing several feet from the bank’s edge, which I believe indicates that that is going to go in next.

“I have already lost about 6 feet of land (3 feet on either side) and a few trees since this pipe was put in. I also have a bridge that is necessary for me to access my home that will be in jeopardy if this is allowed to continue.”

During the approximate 15-minute discussion about Zovko’s concerns, Martucci, who also visited the resident’s property, said, “The erosion is eventually going to take out the bridge.

“My feeling is we should do something,” Martucci added.

Salisbury Township Director of Public Works John Andreas said, “We need to address the stabilization.

“It’s not a full-time flowing tributary,” Andreas said of the creek that crosses Zovko’s property.

Cautioned Tettemer, “Before you do any work on the property, you need to do a before-and-after study.”

Andreas said that to qualify to fulfill the PRP, no work could be done before summer 2019.

Board of Commissioners Vice President Debra Brinton asked about the timetable for the possible remediation work.

Martucci asked if Zovko was made aware of the timetable. Andreas replied in the affirmative.

Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners’ Solicitor Atty. John W. Ashley of Davison & McCarthy law firm, said an easement would be needed for work to be done on Zovko’s property by the township.

“Yes, we would have to obtain that,” Andreas said.

Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich noted, “Approving this plan does not preclude us from doing other work.”

The PRP is the outcome of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, which dates to the 1970s when the United States Environmental Protection Agency handed over stormwater enforcement to state government agencies, which in the commonwealth’s case, is the DEP.

MS4 is nomenclature for the 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.

The Salisbury Township Department of Public Works maintains the township storm sewer system.

According to the state and federal government, the major source of groundwater and surface contamination is nonpoint source pollution.

The EPA website states, “NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.”

Nicolo must meet an Aug. 4 deadline to file information with the DEP for consideration of renewal of the township’s NPDES permit.

Nicolo has a Sept. 30 deadline to submit a progress report to the DEP on the township PRP.