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Murrysville will retrofit 13 more ponds to comply with state’s pollution reduction plan |

Murrysville will retrofit 13 more ponds to comply with state’s pollution reduction plan

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, February 7, 2019 4:30 p.m
Murrysville Engineering Dept./
A map outlining various watersheds as well as the designated “urbanized areas” of Murrysville where pollution reduction will be targeted through retrofitting of detention ponds.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
A detention pond in the Westmoreland Farms subdivision in Murrysville.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
A detention pond off of Buena Vista Drive in Murrysville.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
A detention pond in the Westmoreland Farms subdivision in Murrysville.

In December, Murrysville council voted to partner with the Westmoreland Conservation District in retrofitting a half-dozen detention ponds so that they will hold more storm water for a longer period of time, part of the municipality’s state-mandated pollution reduction plan.

Now, they will need a dozen or so more.

Part of Murrysville’s municipal separate storm sewer system, or MS4, permit renewal includes adopting a pollution reduction plan, which requires MS4 communities to reduce pollution in state waters by 10 percent.

That plan required engineer Scott Hilty to designate parts of the municipality as “urbanized areas,” places where more pollutants typically enter into local watersheds. That designation forced a reduction in the number of best-management-practice areas municipal officials could submit as part of the pollution reduction plan.

Hilty said an additional 13 ponds will be retrofitted to release storm water more slowly and reach the state’s 10 percent goal.

“We’re going to reduce the restrictions so (they) hold more water, and the goal is to try and reduce the sediment that gets carried into commonwealth waters,” he said.

There are significant costs associated with the program, according to municipal Chief Administrator Jim Morrison. Each retrofit costs about $10,000.

“It’s an unfunded mandate,” Morrison said. “Most of the funds have been appropriated through the capital reserve — but that’s one less road we’ll be able to pave.”

There also is the possibility that future pollution reduction plans will force the municipality to come up with new ways to collect sediment and debris.

“Right now, we’re lucky enough to have some areas we can do this (retrofitting),” Hilty said. “But the next five years will be a challenge, when they ask us to reduce another 10 percent, and we may have to build another pond or look at some sort of water-quality structure on our inlets.”

Morrison said one possibility could be buying a street sweeper, “but it’s $130,000 for the equipment, plus staff costs, so those are the types of numbers we’re looking at once we run out of ponds.”

In addition, Hilty said, a street sweeper would be required to sweep the designated “urbanized areas” a minimum of 25 times per year in order to qualify as part of the pollution reduction plan.

Once the retrofits are finished, Morrison said, municipal officials may need to look into a mosquito eradication plan “because these ponds will be holding a lot of water.”

Six ponds are scheduled to be retrofitted in the spring and summer, funded by a $64,000 Growing Greener state grant.

The additional work will take place in the following Murrysville neighborhoods: Summerville Estates, Mallard Landing, Ruby Court, Les Chateaux, Bartlett Court, Fair Oaks Manor, Heritage Estates, Buena Vista, Westmoreland Farms, Windbrook Road, Wilson Road and Lyons Run Estates.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 412-871-8627, or via Twitter .

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