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[ DEP Commends Regionalized Approach to Reduce Stormwater Pollution in Luzerne County ]

Department Cites Creation of Local Entity in Luzerne County

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell commended more than 30 communities working together to reduce pollution through the creation of the Regional Storm Water Management Program at an event with state and local leaders in Luzerne County.

“I want to praise the initiative and leadership that these local governments have taken to improve the water in their local streams and rivers,” said Sec. McDonnell. “By working together, these municipalities are reducing pollution less expensively than they could if they were each making these efforts separately. They are treating stormwater as a resource, rather than a waste.”

The regional program, led by the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (WVSA), encompasses more than 30 municipalities and will allow local governments to submit a joint pollution control plan, as well as finance capital projects more easily. The WVSA estimates that the region will save $57 million over five years with this program.

In Pennsylvania, certain municipalities are required to control and reduce stormwater pollution under a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. DEP’s MS4 program works with these municipalities to develop and implement stormwater management plans.

One of the most important goals of the MS4 program is to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution going into the Susquehanna River, which ultimately leads to the Chesapeake Bay. Over the next five years, municipalities must reduce pollutants in the Susquehanna River including sediment by 10 percent, phosphorous by 5 percent, and nitrogen by 3 percent.

“This work will pay dividends for years, if not generations to come, for the people and communities of the Wyoming Valley and places farther downstream,” said Sec. McDonnell. “The Wolf Administration is committed to the state doing its part in the Chesapeake Bay restoration and partnerships like this help tremendously in that effort. I am certain that the rest of the state will be looking at your exemplary leadership.”

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