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Ferguson Township to revise stormwater ordinance

After months of discussion, the Board of Supervisors has agreed to prepare a revised stormwater ordinance for a future public hearing.

Revisions to the township stormwater regulations were placed on hold in January when supervisors decided to delay sending the ordinance to public hearing as more discussion was needed. The current ordinance was adopted by the township in August 2014.

In early February, supervisors unanimously approved a request for the township to develop a sourcewater protection ordinance covering the township’s wellfields.

According to township engineer Ron Seybert, some of the items discussed included adjusting the limits on dewatering times for basins on a case-by-case basis. The standard is still 90 percent drainage in 72 hours, he said, but some places allow more time.

In some cases, he said, if drainage takes longer than five days, treatment may be required to prevent mosquito breeding.

Blasting was also an issue, he said, saying that if a project is located in a sourcewater protection area, blasting would only be used as a last resort. In those cases, the contractor would have to provide the township and water provider with information on blasting techniques and the required permits.

Supervisor Laura Dininni asked if there would be any grandfathering involved with the new ordinance. Seybert said the ordinance contained no grandfathering, saying projects under construction would be allowed to finish and plans not yet submitted would still be under the current ordinance.

Dininni also raised the issue of the proximity of stormwater facilities to geologic features, saying a distance of 25 feet had been discussed, but she was unsure if that would be adequate.

AquaLith Technologies hydrogeologist David Yoxtheimer said it would be hard to say if more than 25 feet away would make a difference. A mechanism could be added to the ordinance requiring a minimum of 25 feet, but could be increased if subsurface conditions were found in the investigation.

“The geology is tough to predict,” he said. “You never know till a sinkhole opens.

“(Twenty-five feet) could be good for a lot of scenarios,” he said.

The next step is to have the ordinance prepared, township Manager Mark Kunkle said, with a public hearing to follow. No timeline was given as to when the ordinance would be completed.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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