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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Countywide Approach Will Ease Stormwater Plan Expense

Countywide Stormwater Strategy Explained

stormwaterrr1About 30 representatives from local governments in Potter County gathered in Coudersport last night for an update on the county’s Stormwater Management Plan. Eventually, they’ll be required to adopt local ordinances controlling stormwater movement. If not, they could lose liquid fuels tax revenue and other state funds. Doug Weikel, an engineer from consulting firm Herbert, Rowland and Grubic (HRG), told last night’s gathering that Pa. Act 167 imposes responsibilities on townships and boroughs. He said that a coordinated, countywide approach can save municipalities time and expense by developing uniformity.

Weikel said there are two focuses: correction of current problems and prevention of future stormwater mismanagement through regulations.

Last night’s meeting of the Potter County Watershed Plan Advisory Committee was organized by the county’s Planning Commission. HRG is gathering and analyzing data that will eventually lead to wiser use of water resources and improved flood prevention. As a result of land development, paving and other man-made changes, nature’s water cycle has been interrupted. There is more water running off, rather than being absorbed back into the water table. At the same time, with construction taking place in the flood plain, more properties are in jeopardy of flooding.

Initial work reveals that stormwater problems are the greatest in the northern, more heavily populated, area of the county. The Allegheny, Genesee and Oswayo watersheds have been identified as the top three areas for problems such as flooding over roads and stream banks, erosion, sediment build-ups, overflowing drain pipes and gravel bars. Typical solutions involve drainage improvements, bank stabilization, channeling, cleanouts and installation of larger culverts.

Potter County Planning Director Charlotte Dietrich is serving as point person for the Stormwater Management Plan. She can be reached at 274-8254. Potter County Today

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