Webinar to focus on affordable municipal options for stormwater compliance

March 12, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Municipal management of stormwater in a cost-effective way is the topic of a web-based seminar to be offered by Penn State Extension at noon on March 20.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar, titled “Municipal Options for Meeting MS4 Compliance Without Breaking the Budget,” will be Kathryn Hamilton, landscape architect and stormwater technician, and Jim Pillsbury, hydraulic engineer, both with the Westmoreland County Conservation District.

Managing stormwater has taken on new importance in Pennsylvania with the record high precipitation of the past year, and climate change is expected to make managing stormwater more important as time goes by, according to Pillsbury. How a municipality deals with stormwater from the standpoint of finances and budget is only one aspect of the situation.

He noted that environmental concerns and the needs of the residents must also be taken into consideration.

“Municipalities wishing to meet MS4 requirements have many options, such as hiring a consultant, conducting an educational program for the public, or testing water coming from outfalls," he said. "But one of the most effective steps is to use existing resources, existing personnel, and existing projects and property to improve the quality of stormwater in local streams and bodies of water.”

The Westmoreland County Conservation District's experience with creating stormwater best management practices shows that they can be accomplished by municipalities, are affordable to a limited budget, and are creditable by Pennsylvania for an MS4 program, noted Hamilton.

"The Westmoreland Conservation District has many years of experience with all four of these BMPs," she said, adding that the following four actions taken by the district were effective:

— Retrofitting of existing detention ponds to reduce peak flows and prevent downstream erosion, while removing trash, debris and pollutants from stormwater.

— Construction of permeable pavements to assist in meeting parking requirements while decreasing runoff.

— Installation of rain gardens to capture roof runoff.

— Restoration of streambanks to prevent stream erosion, a major source of sediment pollution statewide.

"The Westmoreland County conservation philosophy is to work cooperatively with municipalities, landowners, watershed groups, contractors and others to achieve environmentally beneficial projects," Hamilton said. "Their practices integrate sound engineering with creative and ‘green’ design to achieve a sustainable end result."

The Westmoreland Conservation District officials will share their many years of experience in designing and constructing these best management practices in various environments that improve the water quality of streams and rivers.

“Municipal Options for Meeting MS4 Compliance Without Breaking the Budget” is the third webinar in Penn State Extension's Winter/Spring 2019 Land Use Webinar series that runs from Jan. 16 to May 15. The series assists municipal elected and appointed officials, planners, landowners, farmers and community organizations in understanding land-use issues and decisions in their communities.

All programs in the series are recorded and available for future viewing. Other topics and dates include the following:

— Jan. 16, "Zoning Ethics."

— Feb. 20, "Geodesign: Using Data Transparency and Community Voices for Enhanced Land-Use Planning."

— April 17, "Making the Most of Historical and Heritage Assets: How a Preservation-based Design Ethic Can Promote Economic and Community Vitality."

— May 15, "The Benefits and Challenges of Ridesharing on the Transportation System."

The cost of the webinar series is $50 for all five sessions, or $95 for all five sessions for those who want to receive AICP certification-maintenance credits from the American Planning Association. The cost also is $95 for all five sessions for professional engineers needing PDH credits. 

In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $65.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at ptw3@psu.edu. To register for the webinars, visit the website.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 12, 2019