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Stormwater Officials Answer Questions About Program

May 14, 2019 GMT

PLAINS TWP. — Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority officials and stormwater technicians gathered Monday at the Holiday Inn East Mountain to answer more questions about the stormwater program the authority is overseeing for 32 Luzerne County municipalities.

The meeting was part of the authority’s efforts to meet public outreach requirements under the municipal separate storm sewer system permits.

Most visitors had questions about billing or credits they could earn, said WVSA spokeswoman Donna Gillis.

The authority planned the meeting in the spring so people who were planning home improvement projects could consider projects that would allow them to earn a lower stormwater bill.


Stormwater technicians sat with computers running a mapping program that used their own impervious area data and the county’s mapping. Technicians showed residents their properties, including how much impervious area was on each one. The goal was to allow property owners to check whether the amount of impervious area was correct and to let them know what they might be able to do to lower their bills.

A close look at the impervious area on a property could tell someone if they were close to the edge of a billing tier. Knowing that, they could decide to research ways to get into the lower tier, which would save money.

For example, technicians helped one woman from Larksville whose bill included the impervious area from an adjacent road. After an adjustment, her bill will be accurate, and she will receive credit on her account for overpayment.

WVSA employees have heard a wide spectrum of opinions on the stormwater program, Gillis said. The authority tries to explain the program’s origins — an agreement over the future of the Chesapeake Bay signed in the 1980s by governors from six states, including Pennsylvania — and the benefits of a collaborative approach overseen by WVSA, as opposed to each responsible municipality going it alone. The authority expects the collaborative approach will save $274 million over 20 years, she said.

Plains Twp. resident Charlie Adonizio visited the event. He already has rain barrels and a retention pond on his property, and he wanted to learn how he could qualify for credits.

He owns more than 100 acres spread out over several parcels. When he contacted the authority, three technicians spent two hours at the property. They listened to his concerns, looked around the property and ended up adjusting the bill.

“It’s a mandate they must respond to,” he said. “No one is happy, but this is what we have to do.”

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