Pennsylvania Passes Stormwater Authority Bill
A bill authorizing the creation of stormwater management authorities passed both the Pennsylvania House and Senate on June 30, 2013. Senate Bill 351 amends the Municipality Authorities Act (the “Act”) to allow municipalities the ability to create independent stormwater authorities to oversee stormwater management practices. The Bill adds stormwater planning and management to the purposes and powers of municipal authorities under the Act.
Section 5607 of the Act enumerates the specific purposes and powers of municipal authorities. For example, the list currently includes purposes such as sewer systems, water systems, parking garages, industrial development projects, etc. Senate Bill 351 adds “storm water planning, management and implementation” as a purpose and power of municipal authorities. The bill is intended to help municipalities respond to escalating costs of stormwater management as ultimately imposed through federal and state regulatory requirements. The bill also expressly protects existing authorities already engaged in some types of stormwater controls as part of managing combined or sanitary sewer overflows, or for flood control projects.
Similar bills were opposed in prior legislative sessions. However, enough members were convinced this time around that a stormwater authority is another useful option to address federal and state requirements covering stormwater management. The Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association supported the bill and was successful in adding the amendment which protects authorities already practicing some types of stormwater management, as stated above.
Stormwater authorities may be particularly useful in carrying out watershed implementation plans (“WIPs”) and to manage costs of compliance with stricter stormwater regulations, particularly the WIPs that are required for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Dialy Load (“TMDL”).
Additional information on the bill and related stormwater matters will be posted as it becomes available. If you have a question regarding stormwater management or general municipal law, please contact Christian Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 845-1524 ext. 121.