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Adams stormwater plan off to DEP

Richard D. L. Fulton

(1/18) Proposed Adams County legislation that would replace all of the existing watershed plans in the county has been signed by the commissioners and forwarded to the state for review.

According to Sarah Weigle, senior planner with the county Office of Planning & Development, the county-wide storm water management plan was approved and signed by the (now-former) county commissioners in November and has been forwarded to the state Department of Environmental Protection for their approval.

The creation of the county plan was carried out in response to a state mandate for Pennsylvania counties to drop stormwater management plans previously required to be created for each watershed in a county’s boundaries (Act 167).

Counties are now being required to adopt a single plan that will cover all of the watersheds in each.

Adams County contains a number of watersheds, including the Antietam Creek, West Conewago Creek, Conococheague Creek, Mountain Creek, and Monocacy River watersheds. The Monocacy Watershed alone covers some 520 square miles of Adams County and includes 17 municipalities.

The new county plan would cover all of these watersheds, and would replace the apparently more contentious Monocacy River Watershed Stormwater Management (Monocacy Plan), which had been adopted by the county commissioners in 2002.

One of the main areas of focus in promulgating the county plan was in addressing issues with the Monocacy Plan.

Two of the major points of contention with the Monocacy Plan, Weigle noted, included the expense it conveyed on small property owners who wanted to build a shed or garage, and duplicative sets of studies required of other developers.

Small property owners, under the Monocacy Plan, are required to produce "full engineering studies" for even simple projects, while other developers had to satisfy state discharge requirements and local storm water regulations often by supplying essentially the same information in the form of duplicative studies.

The proposed county plan will eliminate those issues, Weigle stated.

The senior planner said the state will now have 90 days (from the time the DEP logged in the receipt of the plan) to review and approve, reject or comment on the county plan, placing potential approval and implementation possibly in April.

If approved by the DEP, the municipalities will be notified directly by the state that they will have six months to adopt the county regulations or amend their existing regulations to reflect the county regulations.

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