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CWQE Supports Local Stormwater Strategy

October 2021

When Tiffany Crum at the York County Conservation District got a call about severe stormwater problems in a local neighborhood, she knew a permanent solution would require outside expertise. She referred them to the Center for Water Quality Excellence, a pilot program in York and Lancaster counties aimed at helping municipalities and landowners find ways to remedy stormwater issues.

The situation involved aging stormwater infrastructure, a broken pipe, flooding on public roadways and detention basins in need of maintenance in the 25-year-old Chesterbrook neighborhood, Manchester Township. The CWQE staff hosted concerned neighbors at the Center to a listening session, where Center coaches discussed a strategy to address short and long term maintenance needs working cooperatively with the township.

A collapsed pipe in this Manchester Township, York County, neighborhood is one issue being addressed though the Center for Water Quality Excellence program.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought the issue to a head as 4-8 inches of rain overwhelmed the undersized stormwater pipes, one of which has collapsed and now causes severe flooding.

In response, CWQE staff have been meeting with neighborhood residents and the Township to develop a long-term solution that will clarify O&M responsibilities and potential ways to pay for immediate fixes and future stormwater management improvements. CWQE also assisted the Township with its application to PEMA for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation grant programs.

“We know how challenging and litigious these types of situations can be,” remarked Sally Holbert, CWQE Manager. “It’s important to first lay some common groundwork and help residents and Township representatives understand the evolution of stormwater management and the options for both gray and green stormwater infrastructure. We explain how pollution reduction, particularly sediment, from urban runoff relates to the York County CAP and MS4 requirements. Then we provide guidance on funding strategies and programs. Potential directions include Township creation of a Stormwater Authority and adoption of a stormwater fee, formation of a Homeowners Association that could apply for funding, and pursuit of specific flood and stormwater mitigation grants and loans.

“We try to provide a framework for collaborative solutions so that communities see that working together will bring faster results. Just getting people to think differently about the importance of managing stormwater is a big part of our job.”

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