2009-10-08 / Front Page

Stormwater Plan To Address Problem Areas

Plan will also allow for adoption and enforcement of township ordinances
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

In hopes of aiding in the development of a local water management plan as well as having a hand in the adoption and enforcement of ordinances, township and county officials representing the local Watershed Planning Advisory Committee met last Tuesday evening to again hear from officials with Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc. (HRG) on the status of the multi-phase project.

Matt Bonanno, one of three representatives on hand from HRG, took center stage and explained that the development of a plan should have occurred across the entire commonwealth in the 1980s. Although slightly behind the original request of the Department of Environmental Protection, efforts are now being made to ensure the creation and enforcement of a management plan that addresses problem areas such as poor roadway design, undersized culverts and lack of maintenance.

According to Bonanno, the initial phase of the management plan has been completed with the execution of a contract on June 13, 2008. Development of the plan, which falls under phase two, began in March 2009 and includes the collection and review of data. The plan will ultimately be adopted by the commissioners and could also be passed through the county Planning Commission for additional review and consideration.

Fellow HRG official Al Bain pointed out a total of nine municipalities reported having problems with water management. In those specific townships, 31 problem sites were visited and evaluated. Licking Creek Township had the largest number of issues with 11, and Todd and Dublin townships followed with six and five, respectively.

Bain indicated several of the areas in Licking Creek Township have been rectified with the installation of larger-sized culverts. Other areas specifically mentioned by Bain as having insufficient capacity for culverts and bridges included a bridge over Brush Creek and along Decorum Road where a driveway entrance experiences periodic flooding.

Additional origins of problems cited by Bain were encroachment on floodplain areas, poor roadway design, the use of fords to cross streams, lack of maintenance and inadequate consideration of downstream consequences. Brad Newlin of HRG followed up on Bain’s presentation with an overview of preliminary modeling results, which show Cove Creek and Licking Creek having the majority of problem areas due to the presence of impaired streams. Newlin said there was not a lot of development potential outside those two areas.

Bain returned to the podium to touch on ordinance provisions and noted the flexible ordinances will allow for a variety of corrective actions to be taken by a property owner such as rain gardens and open pits. The townships will be responsible for determining what techniques best apply within their boundaries.

Bain further noted all techniques have their own advantages as well as disadvantages in how they are implemented and maintained.

In looking at anticipated dates for completion of various milestones, ordinances will likely be evaluated along with best management practice (BMP) alternatives in December of 2009. The second phase of the plan will be drafted along with model ordinances in May 2010, and a public hearing could be offered as early as September of next year. County commissioner approval of the plan would soon follow.

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