2008-04-10 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

 Notes EAC Meeting April 10, 2008


Present:  Susan Curry, David Morgan, Sigi Koko, Jill Eichelberger, Judy Baigis

Susan Curry took notes.

  1. April 26 — Wissahickon Stream Clean-up  (8:45 – 11:30 AM) Susan Curry will be team leader.  Hope Charlie participates.  Meet at Trax Café parking lot.
  1. Recycling Florescent tubes/bulbs:  Melissa Brooks wrote an article in Ambler Gazette at David’s initiation about safe handling of florescent at end of their life.  David will call Art Feltes, Montgomery County Recycling Coordinator, to find out what is involved in our running a drop-off site – training in handling and packaging; liability if a bulb breaks, transporting to where, etc.
  1. Grease trapped oils:   Judy Baigis share an article and an idea for Ambler Borough to acts as the lead in a consortium of municipalities to collect and turn into diesel the “oils, fats, and grease” that is collected before it gets to the AWWTP.  A new ordinance is being reviewed.  The opportunity is to turn the oil into diesel fuel.  Sigi’s car uses it already. She hasn’t found a convenient local place to fill-up, and so plans to do it in D.C. where she works frequently.


  1.  Ambler Main Street “Green Committee”—  Purpose:  Support businesses in having more earth-friendly practices, in their purchasing, operations, and recycling.  First initiative: aim to have the businesses contract as a bundle with ONE waste hauler, who truly recycles. Tasks: door-to door interview of current recycling practices and constraints to learn what advantages we can highlight and what disadvantages we need to over come to enroll businesses in this idea. Susan obtained the ordinances, and bid specifications from Susquehanna Township so that we would be able to develop our own with considerably less lawyer expense.  They gained over 683 additional recycling tons in one year – that translates in to state 904 performance grant money.  One pass of a garage truck = 100,000 passes of cars in wear-and-tear on the roads.  SEE BENEFITS below
  1.  Recycling:  Jimmy Wack acquired 2 blue recycling containers from Upper Dublin to have recycling cans at Pickering Field. David wants to talk to Mark Wenckus to encourage the coaches to reward kids that are seen recycling. If Borough Council would earmark a certain percentage of the state recycling performance grants for increasing recycling efforts, the funding could help pay for attractive containers in the parks, and eventually along the streets.

Judy shared an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about Chestnut Hill using and benefiting from RECYCLE BANK – Upper Dublin instituted it last year.  The Borough contract with         Mascaro Bro. would be over in 2010.

  1. F.     Trees:  Downtown Tree Management Policy Edgar David, former prof. of Temple Ambler, was hired to assess the “downtown trees” (which include all street trees and parking lot trees, that is: Lindenwold, Butler, Race, Main, and parking lots – Cavalier, Ambler Savings, and Ambler Coffee (Lot 3).  Not the park trees.  His assessment will summarize:  immediate liability hazards; intermediate and long-term care needs for tree longevity; and opportunity spots to plant more shade trees.  Theoretically, the area along the designated streets would support 800 trees – we have 271 trees, most of them from poor stock.  Susan needs to find out about where the municipal easements on all the streets are to clarify what spots can be considered fro plantings.  Sigi said the planning is a key time to integrate tree plantings with stormwater management.

     Shade Tree Commissions:  Whitpain, Upper Dublin and Lower Gwynedd have them.  We need to            identify the people to sit on an Ambler commission.  Having one will be recommended in the    policy.

  1.  Rain Garden Free Installation and Workshop – Susan submitted three possible sites and will tour the person who would recommend Ambler next week.  Three sites were: SAAC, Mattison Ave School, and Knight Park.  It is hoped that Borough Highway Dept and residents are involved in the garden installation so they learn the principles. Once the single site is clarified, permissions will need to be sought quickly from the governing boards.  The garden is to be completed by June 30.  Wherever the garden is installed, the EAC could hold a workshop for residents who could see the example and become warmed up to the idea.
  1. Energy use reduction —The EACs is preparing to conduct a fairly simple “energy audit” of the Borough Hall. Using a checklist to find places and areas where a change in practices, or equipment could reap savings. David spoke at the Council meeting and requested encouragement to proceed. Sigi and Susan will meet in the next couple of weeks to review the PECO accounts and outline a timeline for the energy audit process of looking for savings.

[Draft 1, 4.10.08 SC]



To Waste Hauler and Community:

  • saves fuel (saves hauler costs and better for climate change)
  • less wear and tear on the streets (one truck pass = 100,000 car passes)
  • less vehicular traffic so fewer chances of accidents
  • fewer bins/dumpsters needed from hauler (saves costs)

To Businesses

  • fewer dumpsters take up fewer parking spaces (helps business customers)
  • volume discounts
  • simpler process; feel like making a difference
  • can model best practices to customers

To Borough and Community: can have more control:

  • not allow 4:00 AM pick-ups
  • dumpsters need to have a standard look that is fresh
  • if litter falls out during collection – the truck staff picks it up
  • easy to get monthly reports
  • may offer more materials collected – all their cardboard, all their plastics (unsorted)
  • recycling will go up resulting in better performance state rewards 904