On Centre: Centre Region | Workshop to examine stormwater management techniques

mcarroll@centredaily.comMarch 13, 2014 

Conservation and water officials hope new ideas trickle out of a stormwater management workshop next week that will bring some leading minds in the field to the Centre Region.

Expert speakers from across Pennsylvania and beyond will be at the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau on Wednesday to provide examples and explanations of alternative stormwater management techniques being used across the East Coast.

The focus will be on challenges and opportunities in planning, designing, implementing and financing green infrastructure projects to reduce the effect of stormwater, flooding and infiltration, according to groups sponsoring the event.

Ann Donovan, watershed specialist with the Centre County Conservation District, said she hopes the workshop leads to new conversations among local municipal officials and maybe even a few projects to reduce stormwater infiltration here.

Donovan said pollutants contained in stormwater runoff are a major concern in the Centre Region, and that conservation officials want to encourage more options like rain gardens, retention ponds and green roofs.

“We would like to see lots more of that,” she said.

The workshop, called Stormwater Management: Looking for Innovative Solutions, will feature Charlotte Katzenmoyer, Lancaster’s public works director, and Monica Billig, with the University of Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center, among others.

Dave Smith, the University Area Joint Authority’s assistant executive director, said that Lancaster is “an area where they are doing tremendous things with stormwater management, green solutions, green innovations.”

Smith was recently promoting the event at a Ferguson Township supervisors meeting.

Faced with the prospect of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to increase capacity in its sewage system, Lancaster opted to develop green infrastructure.

Officials there engaged homeowners and businesses in an effort to catch as much rainwater as possible before it headed to the sewage system.

Officials also included retention systems in a series of public works projects, according to officials sponsoring the workshop.

While the workshop is being targeted toward municipal leaders, planners and engineers, Donovan said she hopes residents also attend and learn what they can do to help reduce runoff.

The event is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the visitors bureau on East Park Avenue.

Those interested can register for the event through Friday, by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/StormwaterSpringCreek or calling 355-6817.

It is being sponsored by the Spring Creek Watershed Association, the Spring Creek Watershed Association, the University Area Joint Authority, the Centre County Conservation District, Penn State, the Spring Creek chapter of Trout Unlimited and ClearWater Conservancy.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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