Wyoming Valley Communities have Flexibility in Implementing their Stormwater Program
(Rain tax not required by EPA)
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 25, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today said that it has worked with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to ensure local communities have flexibility in planning and implementing local solutions to address stormwater runoff in Pennsylvania.
“EPA has been working diligently to answer questions of local communities concerning stormwater program obligations in Pennsylvania,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Our agency establishes national stormwater standards based on the Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania administers the program on a state-wide basis. In accordance with guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, it is up to local authorities to determine how best to implement and finance their stormwater programs. This flexibility allows communities to assess their specific needs and make the best decisions for their citizens.”
EPA met recently with stakeholders in the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (WVSA) stormwater planning area. The WVSA planning area includes 32 municipalities that are working to achieve clean water goals. Some of these municipalities have taken advantage of flexibilities in PADEP’s MS4 program to expand their MS4 planning area beyond what is required by state law, in some cases including entire townships in their planning area. To finance the MS4 program, WVSA has implemented a stormwater fee that applies to properties included in MS4 planning areas.
Local stakeholders expressed concerns to EPA about the expanded MS4 planning areas and the associated stormwater fees. EPA helped facilitate dialogue about these concerns and continues to encourage local authorities to work together to address them. The decision to modify or expand a MS4 planning area is a local decision. Additionally, while WVSA chose the option of charging a stormwater fee – an option many communities have selected – other forms of financing are available, such as general funds, development fees, and low-interest loans.
The MS4 program is part of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program under the Clean Water Act, and it requires municipalities located in urbanized areas to obtain permit coverage for stormwater discharges. PADEP implements the MS4 program in Pennsylvania and state regulations require municipalities in urban areas to implement six minimum control measures. MS4 communities with discharges to impaired waters also have additional responsibilities. EPA and PADEP have several financial resources available to help communities meet their stormwater commitments. These include the Clean Water State Revolving Funds, the EPA Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Grants, and other financing opportunities.
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