DEP funds projects in 17 Pennsylvania communities to help keep the Chesapeake Bay clean

HALLAM BOROUGH, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- Pennsylvania is stepping up to do its part to help keep the waters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed clean.

The state's Department of Environmental Protection announced its committing more than two million dollars to the project.

A site at the york county prison was one of 19 DEP projects last year. A bio retention basin was created to treat polluted the water that runs off after a storm.

Officials in another local community say this is a concern.

Sometimes when it rains in Hallam Borough in York County, it pours.

Hallam Borough council president Bill Fitzpatrick said "a specific area here in the borough where we have had 20 years of unmanageable storm water runoffs."

Last year, Hallam Borough benefited from an $80,000 grant to help manage storm water runoff. This year, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has more than $2 million to fund similar improvements in 17 other communities.

C.S. Davidson engineer Derek Rinaldo said "any help that these municipalities can get to address the issue is a major win for them."

"There's a half a dozen residents whose homes are low lying flood area that this will improve their lifestyle dramatically," Fitzpatrick said.

In Hallam Borough and other communities, pollution from storm water runoff here is a problem that flows beyond the borders of the municipality.

"The runoff impacts in a big way, all the way over to the Susquehanna River, which ultimately ends up in the Chesapeake Bay," Fitzpatrick said.

"Sediment is being dropped either in these people's back yards, or down in the creek. Any water sediment that's getting into the stream is ultimately getting into the bay, which is what we don't want," Rinaldo said.

It may look like Mother Nature created a dry creekbed in Hallam Borough, but it, and the issue of storm water runoff are often man made.

"What most residents need to understand about storm water management, is that when you put down an impervious surface such as asphalt, a shed, a new home...ultimately when you stack hard surfaces upon each other, there's no where for the water to go and it ends up in the stream," Rinaldo said.

Which is why many are concerned about the Chesapeake Bay downstream.

"Not just from the standpoint of recreation down there but also from the shellfish that we enjoy at the Chesapeake bay and a host of other things," Fitzpatrick said.

"Ultimately for the health of our drinking water, all of these pollutants that run off of the ground and end up in the stream end up to impact our livelihood somehow," Rinaldo said.

There are about a dozen communities in central Pennsylvania alone that will benefit from this project which fix streams, and storm water run off ditches as well as treat the polluted water.

  • Carlisle Borough, Cumberland County
  • Denver Borough, Lancaster County
  • East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County
  • Goldsboro Borough, York County
  • Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
  • Mount Joy Borough, Lancaster County
  • Lancaster Township, Lancaster County
  • Lemoyne Borough, Cumberland County
  • Paradise Township, Lancaster County
  • Paxtang Borough, Dauphin County
  • Rapho Township, Lancaster County
  • Spring Grove Borough, York County
  • York City