With the year winding down, the new year brings newly elected municipal officials to the table. This public service is vital to the growth of a community, as well as individual gratification for making a commitment to participate in important local government decisions. Here at Keystone Consulting Engineers, we pride ourselves as a premier municipal engineering firm. Whether a Township or a Borough government, two knowledge-packed resources for supervisors and council members are the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Officials (PSATS) and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB). They are both just a phone call away to answer any question that comes along the way, which makes them very popular among officials state-wide. Two valuable subscriptions for your members are the “Township News” and the “Borough News” magazines. Beginning this month, PSATS will be sponsoring the 2018 Boot Camp. The initial training sessions will introduce them to their responsibilities and prepare them for their first meeting when they take office at reorganization in January. More in-depth and comprehensive training regarding rules and laws that govern the townships and boroughs will be available once they have been sworn in. Any training provided by both associations is always very valuable and all encompassing. Classes are also offered to municipal secretaries and managers, as well. If you are a town of 600 people or 10,000 people, the same laws apply and those laws can change on a consistent basis, so training is important for everyone. Visit the Associations at http://www.psats.org/ or http://boroughs.org/ to keep on top of the latest news, legislation, training opportunities and services. To read the full article, click here.
NPDES Stormwater Program-Part 1
Residents who actively attend their local municipal meetings might be “in the know” with regard to the environmental mandates that the EPA has placed on municipal governments and have probably heard the words “stormwater pollution” or “NPDES” mentioned over the last several years. But what does all of this mean to a household? Part 1 of our mini series regarding stormwater pollution will address how residents can help do their part for the good of the environment. NPDES is the acronym for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which, simply put, means getting rid of as many pollutants as possible from rain or snow melt events that flow over the land before it reaches local surface waters. Here we will touch on some tips for healthy household habits.
After a snowmelt or a steady rain, salt and other de-icers runoff into the inlets and pollute our streams and rivers and ultimately impact our drinking water and animal habitats. The salt depletes the oxygen content in aquatic ecosystems which is harmful to fish and aquatic plant life. Salt can also deplete the soil of beneficial bacteria and nutrients and inhibit future plant growth come spring. If using de-icer, limit the quantities used to only what is needed to do the job.
Tips On Smart Winter Salt Use
- Consider throwing down salt before it snows. The de-icer can last longer and have a greater efficiency if applied before the snowfall. It prevents ice from bonding to the pavement and allows for easier cleanup. The less salt used, the better for protecting our watersheds.
- Do not use sand or kitty litter. Sand and kitty litter can obstruct the inlets and outfalls and are harmful to aquatic life and our drinking water.
- Consider the use of alternative solutions. In addition to the aforementioned rock salt (Sodium Chloride), Calcium Chloride and products with Potassium Chloride can be used safely. Other alternatives include Calcium Magnesium Acetate and Potassium Acetate (chloride free).
How to Protect Your Yard from Erosion
What homeowner wants to see their property washed away from a heavy rain event? How many of you have spent many hours of time and plenty of money on beautiful landscaping to just watch it all wash away? The industry term is “erosion”. Erosion can cause problems worse than just unsightly lawns. Erosion can uproot plants with a shallow root system; divert soil into the streets, thereby blocking storm sewer systems; or infiltrating soil into natural water resources. The Soil Science Society of America has come to the rescue with a blog they put out back in September where they recommend some tips to protect your yard. A few samples include: adding mulch and plantings, installing retaining walls or managing rainwater with rain gardens or swales. All of these concepts serve a dual purpose – they beautify your property while providing a firm foundation for your soil. To see the entire blog, click here.