Ambler Environmental Advisory Council – Minutes of Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Attendance: Members: Jeremiah Couey, Chair
Peg Williams [Leave of Absence, accidental injuries]
Rich Palumbo [Absent – Conflict]
Charles Stewart [Absent]
Associates: Judy Baigis (Planning Commission)
Ron Ayres (Shade Tree Committee)
Visitors: Members of the Schuylkill Action Network:
James Newbold, Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Rich Breitenstein, Pa. DEP
Bob Adams, Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association
Jeanne Ortiz, Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC)
Mindy Lemoine, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Bruce Jones, Ambler Waste Water Treatment Plant
Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 7:00 – 8:30, at Borough Hall (usually 2nd Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30 PM)
1. Stormwater Management Efforts Presentation: The Schuylkill Action Network Stormwater Committee presented
an overview of Pa. Stormwater Management Programs (Jim Newbold) and discussed where we are as an EAC, our
stormwater work, and potential future projects. An informal discussion was also held on the new National Pollution
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), administered by the state, and the model ordinance for meeting state guidelines.
The Stormwater Committee is the result of a grant to coordinate stormwater efforts among partners addressing a
Philadelphia Water Dept. study of the Schuylkill River as a source of drinking water. They have focused on 10 EAC’s in
MS4 communities with impaired streams (due to excess sediments and/or nutrients), such as the Wissahickon. A
Wissahickon Water Quality Summary and map were distributed, along with EPA’s Stormwater Phase II Final Rule “An
Overview” and “Small MS4 Stormwater Program Overview” (Dec. 2005). Starting in 2005, water quality as well as
quantity began to be addressed. Stormwater plans are especially focusing on the 2-year / 24-hour storm events. The Best
Management Practices (BMP) Manual for Pa. is just being issued and is available on-line. Engineers, including Gilmore
Associates, have attended training sessions and are very familiar with the BMP’s. Jeanne Ortiz noted that most EAC’s
routinely review development plans. This is not yet occurring in Ambler, but it is a priority of the EAC. Bruce Jones
noted that Ambler is moving forward with rehabilitating facilities. The wastewater treatment plant is not, however,
responsible for pipes bringing sewage to the plant. Stormwater contributes to excess sewage pipe flow due to cracked
pipes, leaking manholes, infiltration (due to water table rise, etc), and other factors, such as illegal basement sump pumps
and roof downspouts connected to sewer lines. There are no combined sewer / stormwater outlets in Ambler. Further
limits on the Total Daily Maximum Loads (TMDL’s) for the Wissahickon are currently on-hold, while the science is
debated that will determine those limits. A target date of 2009 (2 years) is expected, then a review, and 2-3 years for
compliance to be attained. While the state BMP’s are to be the stormwater management model, an important issue is the
draft ordinance that municipalities will have to adopt to implement the BMP’s. Pennsylvania’s Model Stormwater
Management Ordinance was distributed (created by Pa. DEP Bureau of Watershed Management). The next MS4 permit
applications (5-year cycles) will require an ordinance. Thus assisting with adoption of an ordinance is viewed as a
priority for EAC’s. For Ambler, this will need to be accomplished in 2008-2009, 1 year prior to the new permit being
issued. Mindy Lemoine stressed that training on the roles and functions of an EAC can help increase their effectiveness.
Education and outreach workshops can help demonstrate the relationship of stormwater management to other municipal
goals, including economic and quality of life issues, such as reduced flooding and tree plantings.
2. Minutes of January 9, 2007 (R. Ayres, S. Curry 02/15/07) were distributed and approved.
3. Reports from Borough Council, Planning Commission, and Other Meetings:
Borough Council – January: (Jeremiah) Nothing to report; other issues took precedence.
Planning Commission – Lighting Ordinance: (Charles, thru Jeremiah) The Planning Commission is not energized to
develop a lighting ordinance. They suggested that neighbors work it out amongst themselves. Judy Baigis pointed out
that the Borough Engineer utilizes experts to review lighting issues during the development review process.
Home Town News (/Borough Council): (David) David added a reference to PA 1 Call and rewrote the section on
tree care, after consulting with and getting approval from Forester Julianne Schieffer. The copy circulated today is an
update from the emailed version. The EAC approved the revised newsletter, and applauded David and Tim Morgan for
their tremendous efforts in making this a very professional product.
Asbestos Community Advisory Group Update: (Charlie / Rich) No update.
4. Meetings and Borough Liaison Calendar & Coverage:
· Mid/Late March – Bare Root Tree Planting: Additional volunteers needed; Ron volunteered.
· Thursday, March 15, 7pm at Susan Curry’s – Tree Tenders meeting
· Thursday, March 27, 7:30pm – Planning Commission: Need volunteer (Charlie or Rich?)
· Monday, March 19, 8pm – Borough Council Meeting: Kimberly
· Monday, April 2, 7:30pm – Borough Council Committees: Susan, Jeremiah (re: TreeVitalize)
· Thursday, April 12, 6:30 pm at Susan Curry’s – Tree Tenders meeting
· Saturday, April 14, 9-12 – Tree Vitalize Planting, Knight Park etc (Tree Tenders, EAC meet at 7:45 am)
· Saturday, April 28, 9-12 – Wissahickon Stream Cleanup, start at Trax Cafe (EAC meet at 8:30), Kimberly
5. EAC Business: It was announced that Peg Williams will be on a medical leave-of-absence from the EAC until midsummer,
while remaining a member. Susan suggested, and Jeremiah agreed to sending the EAC minutes to Jim
Dougherty, Borough Engineer, Gilmore Associates. Susan announced that the EAC will not be participating in Temple-
Ambler’s Earthfest this year, but the Tree Tenders of Montgomery County may staff a booth. Jeremiah distributed copies
of the Projected Ambler EAC Summary Budget 2007 (as approved by Council) and the EAC and TreeVitalize Budget
Current Status (3/13/07), attached.
6. Planning Commission Issues: (Judy Baigis) There is some discussion regarding a proposed fence at Station Square
that may need to be moved back, limiting tree space. Trees were removed on two empty lots for sale on N. Spring
Garden. In reference to the 1844 house for sale occupying the tip of the Reiffs Mill – Tennis – N. Main triangle, there
were initial attempts to rezone this industrial. Judy stressed keeping it residential with a special exception for low-impact
office use (for a social non-profit, e.g. Copernicus Society), which is now being pursued by the Borough.
7. Tree Tenders / TreeVitalize:
· Bare Root Trees: Bare root tree delivery may be later than mid-March.
· DCNR Tree Care Training for Borough employees will take place on Friday, March 30, 8-Noon, with Julianne
Schieffer and Mindy Maslin conducting the training.
· PA 1 Call for the bare root tree sites has been done, to be dug March 18.
· Girl Scouts: Susan has mobilized 14 Cadet Girls and 116 Brownies to plant flowers around Ambler on April 14, in
cooperation with Plant Ambler.
· WVWA has not been able to organize a lunch for April 14 (due to a staff illness) and thus will not join us.
· New Revised Hold Harmless Agreement has been issued, covering all participants / activities in the event.
8. WREN Grant: Susan has names of prospective consultants; 7-10 homeowners want an assessment presently. Susan
to prepare packets and pledge, may get consultants to help. The brochure is hung up, was to be ready today. The presurveys
need to be organized for updating during the visit. Dan Mulholland is organizing the Wissahickon Middle School
Earth Day Celebration on Friday, May 4, time to be determined. The final report is due at the end of June, with the windup
conference occurring on June 21-22 (attendees welcome).
[End] [R. Ayres, S. Curry, 04/12/07 ]