Chester County Water Resources Authority Discusses Updated Act 167 Stormwater Management Model Ordinance
Posted December 20, 2021
Cory Trego, a Water Resources Planner with the Chester County Water Resources Authority (CCWRA), attended the Chester County Planning Commission's December Board Meeting to provide an overview of the updated County-wide Act 167 Stormwater Management Model Ordinance — a project CCWRA has been working on over the past year.
The updated ordinance, which is currently posted on CCWRA's website for public review through January 7, 2022, was shaped by public, municipal, and stakeholder input received at more than two dozen meetings and presentations since the summer of 2019. A first draft of the updated model ordinance was presented at a public meeting on September 21. A Watershed Plan Advisory Committee Meeting, as required by PA Act 167, was held on November 5 to review the final draft of the model ordinance. This draft was posted online for public review on November 22.
Trego discussed the reason for updating the ordinance and provided a summary of the provisions contained within the ordinance, proposed changes, and next steps during his presentation. He explained that this ordinance will comply with the provisions included in the Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Act (PA Act 167 of 1978), which are intended to reduce flooding and stormwater impacts of future development and redevelopment.
In 2018, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a 2022 Model Stormwater Management Ordinance for the entire state of PA, requiring all municipalities with an "MS4" permit to comply with the new provisions in the statewide ordinance. The updated County-wide Model Ordinance incorporates changes that comply with these new provisions. By updating their existing stormwater ordinances to be consistent with the County's ordinance, municipalities can help to ensure consistent stormwater management across the County, comply with PA DEP's requirements for MS4 municipalities, and improve local stream and groundwater quality.
The model ordinance update process also provided an opportunity to improve the ordinance through incorporating municipal, stakeholder, and public input. Trego also noted that the County's population is continuing to grow, which will result in increased impervious cover. This growth, coupled with the recent increased frequency of intense precipitation events, makes proper management of stormwater runoff a key tool in reducing local flooding impacts and improving water quality.
"Overall, some of the most significant changes to the ordinance focus on incorporating conservation design, green infrastructure, and low impact development practices into new development and redevelopment projects," Trego noted. "So doing things like replacing traditional large detention basins with more green infrastructure practices, minimizing impervious areas, and reducing woodland, riparian area, and floodplain disturbance to the greatest extent possible can have significant impacts on reducing the volume of stormwater generated on a site."
This initiative supports the Protect goal in Landscapes3 by guiding development away from sensitive natural resources, supporting comprehensive protection of the county's streams, wetlands, floodplains, and riparian corridors, and by promoting groundwater recharge, stormwater runoff and pollutant reduction, flood mitigation, and water quality improvement.
CCWRA created a "Summary of Changes" document that provides a succinct summary of all substantive changes made to the model ordinance. This document is also posted on CCWRA's webpage along with the updated model ordinance and ordinance appendices. All changes made to the County's existing model ordinance are highlighted in green in the version posted on the webpage, and any text that was removed from the original ordinance is highlighted in red with a strikethrough through the text. After the public comment period ends on January 7, a public hearing will take place in February 2022, after which the ordinance will be submitted to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for their final review. CCWRA plans to have the ordinance adopted as an amendment to the County-wide Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan after PA DEP approval. CCWRA anticipates rolling out the updated ordinance and assisting with municipal adoption late next spring.