Neighborhood University – Stormwater

West Chester resident Emily Pisano is kindly contributing her observations on the content of Neighborhood University, a good background for all interested in civic life. And as anyone reading this knows, “government is us!” For week 2 and a link to the more info about the program, see here.

Walking into the West Goshen municipal building for last week’s Neighborhood University, I must admit my expectations were rather low. The topic was stormwater and I don’t know about you, but the word stormwater doesn’t typically elicit feelings of fun or excitement.

We were greeted by our speaker for the evening, West Goshen township manager Casey LaLonde. Won over immediately with his snack selection (pretzels, candy, water, and soda), we grabbed us handout and sat down ready to learn.

Within the first five minutes of Casey’s presentation I realized I had been all wrong about the topic of stormwater. Well, almost entirely wrong. While not necessarily fun, it is a very exciting, interesting and stressful area to be a part of. Without getting into the nitty gritty of all the acronyms and definitions, I’ll share with you why the management of stormwater is essential to our community and environment.

First of all, decision-making surrounding the management of stormwater is left to your elected officials. So, here is yet another reason why voting is so important. November 7th, mark it on your calendars!

Recently, the DEP has had its focus on stormwater and has put pressure on PA’s municipalities to create updated systems for managing it. Unfortunately, PA is more than a little behind the curve when it comes to stormwater, the reason being, the DEP did not know how to handle PA’s many municipalities.

Putting the changes that need to be made into effect does not come at a low cost and funding the projects is left to the discretion of local elected officials. In West Goshen either a stormwater fee will be activated or federal tax money will be used.

To emphasize the importance of managing stormwater properly, just look at the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Houston’s reservoirs didn’t break and they weren’t in bad shape. They simply could not handle the fifty inches of rain dumped on Houston in a twenty-four-hour period. Meteorologists have referred to Hurricane Harvey’s effects on Houston as a 500-year flood. What that means is, a flood the size of the one cause by Harvey should only occur once every 500 years. But there has been one 500-year flood every year for the last three years.

In light of the collection of natural disasters that has affected the US and Mexico recently, we all need to come together and work as a team to help restore our environment. Part of helping to save our planet is electing those that understand how serious a situation we are in and keeping those that deny something is wrong out of the decision-making.

To learn more about stormwater management visit your townships website. West Goshen has a very detailed site dedicated to their recent projects including a plan to replace outdated systems across their township.

For those of that live in West Chester Borough, our Borough Council recently passed a resolution to use 100% clean renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% clean renewable energy for transportation and other uses by 2050. The Borough will also be testing a “green curb” extension plan. This will start on S. Everhart Street between Sharpless and Nields. The plan will help the ground to better collect and retain stormwater runoff.

While we can’t reverse the damage that has already been done to our environment we can and need to work together to prevent any more from occurring.


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