A Message from the Penbrook Authority – August 2017:
Communities in the Chesapeake watershed are mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) to reduce pollutants (sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen) that flow from parcels into the streets, down the storm drains, and into surrounding creeks. The DEP is requiring Penbrook to reduce their Pollutant Load into the Paxton and Spring Creeks by 20,774 pounds in the next 5 years. This mandate is unfunded (no monetary support provided).
Penbrook Council obtained a grant from Dauphin County Conservation District (DCCD) to help reduce their Pollutant Load by 2,411 lbs. Other best management practices (BMPs) need to be paid for to reduce the Pollutant Load further. Hiring an engineer to conduct a study of areas with high levels of sediment run off and propose BMP solutions to reduce the pollutant load was a first step. The borough, after receiving feedback from the community, will select from the proposed BMPs and pay for them. The final results of the study and the proposed plan for reducing the pollutant load, conducted by RETTEW, the borough engineering firm, and the proposed BMPs can be found on the Authority website under Penbrook PRP and TMDL.pdf.
The borough must also repair 8 inlets that storm water travels through that add to the Pollutant Load. The borough must apply for and pay for a permit from the DEP. The borough must also continue to clean and maintain the storm drains as well as street clean. These expenses are necessary to reduce Penbrook's Pollutant Load.
The borough estimated that this would cost $318,486 this year. Although the grant money helps, it isn't enough. The Penbrook Council created the Authority to charge a fee to parcel owners (Stormwater Fee) to help cover the cost of the best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs are necessary to reduce Penbrook's Pollutant Load into the Paxton & Spring Creek beds by 20,774 lbs. in 5 years.
There are 1,179 parcels in Penbrook. Each parcel owner received a bill in July. This bill states the annual fee based on the size of the parcel. If you pay the quarterly fee early, you get a 2% discount. If you pay late, there is a 5% penalty. If you pay on time, you are paying a quarter of your annual fee. This fee will be reevaluated each year. It is hoped that the fee will go down as BMPs are paid for and the Pollutant Load is reduced. The next quarterly bill will be sent in October.
Parcel owners can attend Authority meetings and are encouraged to participate. Your voice matters! You can help the Authority make informed decisions based on the aspirations of the community, the needs of the borough, and the mandates of the DEP.
The Penbrook Authority meets the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm at the Penbrook community building. The meeting dates for the remainder of this year are: August 16th, September 20th, October 18th, November 15th and December 20th.
Hope to see you there!