Acting Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) Minutes - June 13, 2018

Charlestown Township
Acting Environmental Advisory Council (EAC)
Great Valley Middle School
Minutes of Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Minutes recorded for meeting on June 13th, 2018 at the Great Valley High School Library, 225 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355. Meeting was held from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Attendees were Carol Armstrong, Richard Findlay, Veda Maany, Daniel Walker, Linda Csete, Kevin Kuhn, Jane Dugdale (Resident)

Apologies for being absent from Pete Goodman and Greg Nesspor.

The meeting was called to order at 6:30pm with Carol Armstrong in the Chair.

Minutes of Previous meeting:

These had been previously circulated. There were no changes to the minutes and they were approved unanimously by a motion by Dan Walker and Richard Findlay.

DISCUSSION WITH LINDA CSETE, TOWNSHIP MANAGER

Linda encouraged all EAC members to visit the township Official website where there is detailed coverage of activities and official documents.

Linda focused on Environment activities she was personally involved in or provided over sight.

  1. Mandated by DEP Recycling Reporting under Act 101

    The act covers both residential, institutional and yard waste. It requires a report by each township in the commonwealth on the tonnage of waste collected and disposed of. The report is made two times/year with raw data being provided by the refuse collecting companies to Chester County, which is then passed on to each township to report individually. Given the overlap of zip codes across borders and shared postal descriptors e.g. Malvern for Charlestown, there are questions about the accuracy of the allocation of the tonnage to a specific township. The reports re subject to audit, and its data are the bases for grant applications that Linda submits. The township receives annual grants of $2000 to process the report. Charlestown residential yard waste is collected at a Phoenixville site which provides another challenge to the accuracy of the data. Refuse collectors need to register annually with the Township. Further information is available on the Township website.

    EAC Help: Would be helpful and instructive for a member of the EAC to attend the County meeting about the mandated reporting. EAC members were interested in way to check if residents are complying with recycling. Richard suggested he could survey who was putting out material on trash day, and perhaps gathering data from a Housing Association(s). Linda also suggested that a tour of the Honey Brook Landfill could be informative.

    Action: No specific objectives for action were identified at this meeting as the EAC is in a process of gathering information to develop a goal plan for the EAC.

  2. Septic System/Tank Management

    Chester County previously tracked the rate of septic system pumping, but this system fell apart due in part to growth in the County. Two years ago a new system was adopted, and the Township as required has an ordinance requiring all residences on a septic system to have their system purged/pumped every three years. The township manager receives emails on the work done in the township by each septic company. This system covers approximately 1000 out of the 2200 residences in the township. Linda Csete estimated that about 75% of the township does not pump at the required frequency, and suggested that a fine may be put in place for noncompliance after the three year deadline and multiple reminders from the township.

  3. The Township office maintains a spread sheet of notifications by the septic pumping companies when an action is undertaken. As this data only started in 2017 the three year deadline will only be enforced starting in 2020. There have been notifications to all residents concerning the ordinance and the requirement but as the ordinance has not been enforced to date it may be advisable to conduct an update/educational program.

    EAC help: Draft a communication program for residents and include a township Newsletter notice.

    Action: Richard Findlay to liaise with Linda and Draft.

  4. 811 Call Reporting

    The 811 call line is to help residents that are making earth disturbance projects on their properties, to learn if there are water, electric, sewer, or gas lines in the work area, and Jan Bird receives about 60 such calls/month. The report requires outline details of the project and location on their property. A service engineer then visits the property and marks (Color coded) any underground wires, cables pipes, etc. All such 811 requests are reported to the township, logged and passed to the township engineer Dan Wright. Dan will make a site visit as appropriate to ensure the required permits are in place.

    EAC Help: No objectives were identified, unless Dan Wright requests help from the EAC.

  5. Emergency Operation Center
  6. The Charlestown EOC plan and response is managed by Linda Csete and Kevin Kuhn on the Board of Supervisors. Timothy Hubbard, Fire Marshall and Emergency Management Coordinator, conducts a biennial drill, the last being in November 2017. The date is pre-determined but the nature of the emergency is not disclosed; emergencies may include pipeline breaches or blasts, Hazmat releases, or Limerick Nuclear Power Plant releases. The last exercise Charlestown gained an excellent rating.

    EAC Help: No objectives were identified at this time.

  7. Management of Storm water (MS4) Program and Reporting

    This is a DEP Storm Water Ordinance to cover as a minimum a control program for storm water management. A report on activities and measures in place is made on an annual basis by the township Engineer Dan Wright. Linda provides certain sections for the report. The program and report covers:

    • Education and outreach to the residents
    • Public participation
    • Outfall mapping
    • Pollution and prevention on/from roads (mainly concerning snow removal)

    Dan Wright does an inspection two times/year of all the retention/detention basins and rain gardens in the township. After heavy storms Ed Theurkauf, tours the township to observe storm water runoff issues and advises Dan Wright accordingly. Ed also provides advice on basins and water gardens on a voluntary basis. Eileen Juico, an attorney in Charlestown, provided a pipeline education series in the past.

    Further information is available on the township website under storm water management. Fun fact: Charlestown township has received an award for its website!

    EAC Help: Public participation, education and outreach could be an area where we can assist the MS4 requirements. Perhaps on Earth Day and Charlestown day.

    Action: This objective will be considered as the EAC creates a goal plan.

  8. Other activities: Linda has posted over 280 articles and website links, and has available files on pipeline safety correspondence. She corresponds/liaisons with the DEP, County water authority, solid waste authority, CRC watershed association (they used to run an educational program that included our watersheds until two years ago), Penn state extension, County managers association (once a month), county secretary group, State association discussion group (involved in changing the fireworks ordinance due to change in state laws).

    EAC Help: It was agreed that Linda will forward emails and attachments about environmental issues to Carol and Pete for now.

    The EAC committee thanked Linda for her thorough presentation and is looking forward to working with her.

OTHER TOPICS DISCUSSED

Plastic bag ban –

we discussed doing further research on this. West Chester township is interested. Currently there is a House bill (HB 2241) looking to preventing charges for single use plastics- who would be affected by this bill in our town? There’s only a handful of business that would be affected. We discussed that our goal is to just educate about the effects of plastic bags on our watershed and water treatment facility. For instance, people don’t know that plastic bags are not recyclable when placed in the recycling bin for pickup by the trash/recycling contractor.

EAC help: Richard will discuss whether Andy Motel and Mike Allen of the Planning Commission are interested in light of the limited businesses in Charlestown.

Official Charlestown Map:

What is the official map for ordinance purposes? Does it show what properties of the township are of interest for preservation and placeholders for future roads. There is an official 12 year-old map on the website. We began a discussion of which maps could be used to name unnamed streams. Open space has been a priority (we are at 34% open space).

GOALS, PROJECTS, AND TASKS
OLD

  1. Identify Eagle Scout Projects for and within the Township, as requested by Parks and Recreation (P&R). - Richard described the process by which a project is developed and approved, starting at regional scout council and then the national council. Previous projects have always involved building something. Richard received a list of ideas already under consideration by P&R, and suggested that the EAC contribute ideas. Charlestown liaisons with 2 Boy Scout groups, . We can provide the Eagle Scout candidate with the list, and if something on the list gets a scout’s interest and attention then they can create a project around it. Richard presented to the group an Environmental Science Merit badge workbook (handout given to members) for ideas for Eagle Scout candidates. The workbook can stimulate some ideas about public workshops as well.

    EAC Help and Action: At the next EAC meeting, we will contribute further suggestions. Richard identified a list of projects found at NESA.org (tag down to Become an Eagle Scout, then tag showcase, to see on a national level previous approved projects.

  2. Naming of unnamed streams in Charlestown. Schuylkill township has been doing this. We will have Tom Heisey from Schuylkill EAC to present their project at the Charlestown EAC on Aug 8th. There are still a few tributaries in Charlestown that are unnamed. Carol will bring the map for streams already named. There are 4 streams that start in Charlestown that the Schuylkill EAC has named. Tom Heisey of Schuylkill will present their process of identifying unnamed tributaries, naming them, and submitting the names to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
  3. Adelphia Gateway pipeline valve construction - Pete Goodman, an Intervenor with FERC, submitted comments regarding the proposed changes to this pipeline that will change the pipeline from transporting oil to transporting liquid natural gases. This is significant because it will involve high density and highly combustible gases, and new valve infrastructure in Charlestown. Carol also submitted comments to FERC at the Adelphia Gateway scoping meeting in Marcus Hook on 5/31/2018, including comments. Both Pete’s and Carol’s comments included, but were not limited to, how the pipeline’s greenhouse gas releases will affect our township, and concerns about safety to residents in the blast zone. There is a concern around the two blowdown valves whether any greenhouse gases should be released at all because technology exists to capture gases. Another issue is lack of emergency measures for high pressure leaks and explosions-should this be part of the Chester County MERC exercises? Unfortunately, FERC doesn’t regulate the safety issues- Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation does.

    Help from EAC: The EAC has posted a notice on the township website to reach out to township residents, invite them to make comments (create an eRegistration account at www.ferc.gov), provide them with Pete’s letter as a source of information, and give them docket number CP18-46; https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/doc_info.asp?document_id=14634543.

  4. Review of EAC member contact info and township map – Ron Strobel requested to have his name removed from the EAC email list.

NEW BUSINESS

  1. Pill repository: Linda Csete put on the township website under recycling a list of where to drop off unused pharmaceutical medications. The closest is East Whiteland’s police department that has a drop box.

    Help from EAC: There is a website, earth911.com, which gives companies and locations where almost any item can be recycled based on your zip code.

  2. Produce a Community Education Series of Presentations on environmental topics for the residents of Charlestown—entice people with more attractive topics and with social incentive. A good topic is about gardens (i.e. what are best species to plant in the area, deer proof plants, etc.). Find the right topic and marketing behind it. There are many new residents from urban areas who are interested in starting their own gardens.

    Help from EAC: The goal is to come up with 4–6 topics for now. Some presentations might be hosted at Charlestown park with refreshments and draw in families that way.

OTHER UPDATES

Parks & Recreation

Richard will bring up invasive species at the next meeting based on a request from P&R, and the question of whether pesticides/herbicides are used on playing fields.

Board of Supervisors

Veda reported there was a discussion about Adelphia Pipeline with township involvement now. We have posted a notice on the website for residents to contact Pete or Veda with concerns/information (see above).

Planning Commission

Dan had attended. We defined our relationship to the Planning commission- we are here for their consultation if they need us. We could provide them with help - we want to minimize redundancy.

Historical Commission

Greg was not present to provide updates. We discussed difference between the Historical Commission and the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB), which are combined in Charlestown.

EAC MEETING WITH KEY PEOPLE:

July 11:

Victoria Laubach, Executive Director of Green Valleys Watershed Association, is invited to attend this meeting to discuss EAC activities for our region that crosses municipal boundaries. Vicki is the longtime member of an EAC (Chair of West Vincent EAC for 15 years). She is a great resource for research on health of local creeks/streams, as GVWA is our watershed association and we would like to support them.

August 8th:

Tom Heisey of Schuylkill EAC will attend our EAC to discuss their project involving unnamed streams.

Next meeting scheduled for Wednesday July 11, 2018.