Category Archives: recycling container

July 2016 Meeting Minutes

Members in Attendance:

  • Mary-Margaret Monser
  • Susan Johnson
  • Ben Bergman
  • Karen Polesir
  • (Quorum)

Absent Members:

  • Stephen Maakestad


  • Two

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:

  • Raija Suomelar

Next Meeting Date: August 17 at 7:00 PM – 131 Rosemary Ave

Action Items by Person:

Steve: Compile information for mini-campaign poster/video, etc.; lead next meeting discussion on EAC mission and wish list

Susan J: Report on budget status.

Mary Margaret: Draft EAC minutes. Present program at Farmers Market on July 23. Meet with Raija on Ambler Borough Park Maintenance. Check on meeting dates for Fort Washington Business Alliance. Maintain Ambler EAC FB with Chris. Bring computer, arrange projector, use of Council Chambers and key, on TMDL best practices for a meeting. With Susan C to finalize draft lay-version of Ambler TMDL Strategy.

Ben:  Meet with Susan Johnsson in regards to google docs. With Steve: develop poster/video on Lawn Chemical mini campaign. Prepare an overall short and long-term EAC Social Media strategy for August meeting discussion. Prepare EAC Kit On Wheels for Farmer’s Market. Collect email database/EAC membership list. Research Monthly newsletter.

Susan C:   TMDL projects–existing funded and planned unfunded and eventual maybe, update on due date for Detailed TMDL Strategy, citizen participation.  With Chris: Adopt-a-tree Agreements, posting for approval on Google docs, clarify process for implementation. Arrange tour of Gwynedd Creek. Meet with David re Shade Tree Committee. To Steve: VMLCC materials on lawn chemicals. To Rick Collier to nudge Restoration plan from WVWA. Coordinate with Mary-Margaret to finalize draft lay version of Ambler TMDL Strategy

Brooke: Review Ambler TMDL Strategy – write fuller letter of concerns about inadequacies. Research and capture information on alternatives to using toxic herbicides.

Karen: With MM craft for Farmer’s Market program. With Raija, Ambler Borough park Maintenance.

Raija: Red Tail operations handoff. Help with planning Farmer’s Market program. Contact borough re mowing lines in Ambler borough Park.

Agenda Topics

  • Council/Planning Commission Updates:
  • Council voted on repealing the Riparian Buffer Ordinance. Nancy Deininger was absent. Jonathan Sheward and  Sara Hertz voted against repealing the ordinance, all others voted in favor of repealing the ordinance that was passed in May of 2016. The Ambler Planning Commission and Montgomery County Planning Commission wrote letters of recommendation AGAINST REPEALING the previously passed Riparian Buffer Ordinance. The Montgomery County Planning Commission noted that such standards would further several water quality and stormwater management objectives in Ambler’s comprehensive plans including:  Montco 2040: A Shared Vision (2015), Ambler Borough’s Comprehensive Plan Update (2013), and Ambler Borough’s Comprehensive Plan (2001). Several residents who live along the upper portion of Rose Valley Creek had voiced concerns about their property rights. Glenn Kucher, Code Enforcement Officer, issued a memorandum to clarify their misconceptions of the intent of the Riparian  Buffer Ordinance.
  • After Repealing the Riparian Buffer Ordinance, the Council voted to adopt the Intergovernmental Agreement for the completion of the Alternative TMDL Plan for the Wissahickon.  The WVWA is spearheading a campaign to come up with an alternative that has all 16 municipalities in the Wissahickon Valley Watershed working together to improve the health of the Wissahickon watershed.
  • Much discussion centered around the location of the Verizon Monopole. The garage like base with very tall pole was slated to be voted on for it’s building at Ambler Borough Hall. Much concern for it’s size, safety, and aesthetics led to another search for alternative placement. Per Joe Bresnan, Verizon has the right to place the pole somewhere, via a communications act.
  • Discussion about turning Mattison into a one way street and restricting traffic on EUclid Avenue to local traffic during certain hours insued. There was some confusion, as it was noted in some paperwork that the wrong way indicated. Upon clarification, Ambler Borough Council majority voted favorably in regards to this. The intent being to minimize future traffic cut through as development in our region continues to ramp up.
  • Renovation options and estimates for renovation at Borough Hall were touched upon.
  • Ambler Borough will renew agreement for Septa lot for the Farmer’s Market.
  • The purchase of the Edgewood property is complete, the deed restriction is being filed, this land will be held for passive use only.
  • Announcements and Opportunities
  • Fort Washington Business Alliance – No representation
  • Open invitation to visit Wastewater Management Plant.
  • Rain Garden Tours –On hold.
  • Susan Johnson will have a budget update.
  • Farmer’s Market programming: Ambler EAC will continue to create programming.
  • Ambler’sTMDL Strategy
  • Layman’s version of the TMDL strategy has been undertaken. See attached.
  • Discussion about the role of the EAC in regards to the TMDL strategy was initiated. The EAC’s role is:
    • Identify environmental issues and recommend plans and programs to the appropriate municipal agencies for the promotion and conservation of natural resources and for the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment within its territorial limits.
    • Make recommendations for the use of open land areas.
    • Promote a community environmental program.
    • Keep an index of all open space, publicly or privately owned, including flood prone areas, swamps and other unique areas, for the purpose of obtaining information on the proper use of those areas.
    • Advise the appropriate local government agencies, including the planning commission and the elected governing body, on the acquisition of property, both real and personal.
  • Continue to look at key BMP’s that the EAC can educate the public on.
  • Borough Park Maintenance


  • A 10,000 grant from PECO has not been finalized.
  • Adopt-a-Tree Program – May be better served with the Shade Tree Committee
  • Raija has championed and is unfortunately moving to Maine the end of the summer.
  • Red Tail:
    • Hasn’t tackled knotweed and clematis as much
    • He is 90% through last years treated areas. Not as effective when treated in the fall ( Fall of 2015), will hit again, check for late fall regrowth.
    • Need to hold standards.
    • Lesser Celandine, stiltgrass, garlic mustard all need to be addressed.
    • Meeting arranged for Karen and Mary-Margaret to walk Ambler Borough Park.
  • Tree tags done.
  • Chris Raines may still have small white pines.
  • Ambler Borough not responding to request for changing the mowing line at Ambler Borough Park.
  • Share Documents via Google Docs
  • Ben will teach Google Docs to Susan Johnsson
  • Shade Tree Committee
    • David Morgan present to discuss
    • Susan Curry Advisor
    • Looking for members
    • Once a month meetings
  • Recycling at Music Festival
    • Distribution could be better
    • Better recycling could be encouraged.
    • Opportunity for maximizing recycling at other event. Beer Gardens.
    • Label containers.
  • Farmers Market
    • EAC kit on wheels suggested, clipboard with sign up.
    • Recommended two people to man a table.
    • Prepare event for July 23. Attracting butterflies and the importance of trees and plants and maintaining a healthy ecosystem for them.
  • Newsletter
    • Monthly newsletter for EAC
    • Ben to present social media strategy
    • Regular update of EAC website
  • Carried Over New Business
    • EAC wish list projects.
  • Fall Mini Campaign – Maybe a poster. Give people an alternative to minimize lawn chemicals. Relate it to bee colony collapse.

The Recycling Plant is no longer offering tours. The EAC is worried that is due to so much being contaminated and not being recycled. It is suggested that the EAC is more aggressive in asking for a tour of the plant.

Upcoming Meetings

Next meeting is August 17 at 7pm at Ambler Borough Hall

The meeting was adjourned around 8:15 PM

2015 Year End Review

Who we are:

Currently, five appointed EAC Members bring diverse backgrounds including science and ecology, accounting, environmental policy and engineering. Appointed members are: Steve Maakestad (Chair), Susan Johnsson, Matt Cooley, Mary-Margaret Monser and Charlie Charlesworth. Additional associates that greatly enhance our efforts include: Susan Curry, Chris Raines, Rachel Rosenfield, and Raija Suomela. Two EAC members that were appointed in 2015 –Stephanie Figary and Alex Pratt — have moved on. Thus, we face 2016 with TWO vacant seats. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM.

Accomplishments in 2015:

The EAC enhances the environmental health of Ambler in several ways. Throughout the year, the EAC was involved in the following activities:

  • Ambler Earth Fest: In April, Chris Raines led the EAC in producing the first ever Ambler Earth Festival at the Calvary Methodist Church. An impressive group of vendors and presenters contributed to the Earth Fest along with music, food and entertainment for kids. The EAC sold and raffled off compost bins during the event. Successful efforts to elicit sponsorships enabled the event to net $200.
  • Wissahickon Stream Clean-up and Education: Annually in April, we coordinate a team of volunteers to pick-up trash along two tributaries that run through Ambler as part of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association’s Annual Stream Clean-Up Day. The EAC also teamed with WVWA earlier in the year to organize a public video presentation at Borough Hall highlighting the Wissahickon Creek and WVWA’s goals to preserve it.
  • Water Conservation Campaign: The EAC conducted an educational campaign on water conservation through an informative display, information pamphlets and brief articles in the Hometown News and on the EAC webpage. The EAC attends and makes presentations at public events such as the Ambler Farmers Market and Oktoberfest.
  • Waterways and TMDLs: The EAC is greatly interested in our waterways. First, Several EAC members attended a TMDL presentation by EPA at Morris Arboretum to understand how it would affect Ambler Borough.  Second: we introduced and coordinated with the Planning Commission on several draft ordinances aimed at preserving natural resources (wetlands, woodlands, floodplains, riparian buffers, and steep slopes). Third: we organized multiple maintenance days to remove invasives species and debris along the creek in Borough Park; two weekend events were led by Master Watershed Steward volunteer Rachel Rosenfeld. Fourth, the EAC contracted professional services to continue the maintenance of the riparian buffer within Borough Park through an agreement with RedTail Inc.. Fifth: The EAC prepared and delivered an informational presentation on the importance of environmental resource protection ordinances. Twenty-nine attended this event at the Wissahickon Valley Library including environmentalists from Whitpain and Lower Gwynedd townships.
  • Rain Garden Tour: In June, the EAC produced a tour of seven of the Ambler rain gardens drawing a crowd of 40, necessitating a split into 2 groups. The main goal of the tour is to generate interest in installing more rain gardens in other yards around town.
  • Participation in Borough Processes: EAC members were present and actively participated at Borough Committee and Borough Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings, and Zoning Board hearings. In addition, the Chair attended the Summit of BucksMont EACs in Doylestown– an occasion for sharing ideas among other local EACs.
  • BoRit Asbestos Community Advisory Group (CAG): The EAC has a voting seat on the CAG, which is an EPA supported citizen group who pay attention to the Asbestos issues and remediation in Ambler. A member attends the CAG meetings that are held six times a year. The EAC helped organize a public education presentation on mesothelioma, a topic of interest for communities with old Asbestos manufacturing facilities like Ambler.
  • Facebook Page/Website/Outreach: For better communication with the residents of Ambler, the EAC created a Facebook page that now has 125 followers. We revamped the EAC website ( We contribute several educational articles to an Environmental Corner in each issue of the “Hometown News”. The EAC joined the Fort Washington Business Alliance in order to help promote our activities and engage additional volunteers and potential members.

The EAC plans for 2016.

Several programs are annual events: the Stream Clean-up day and park clean-up days. Variations or new ideas are listed below.

  • Rain Garden Program: We will promote a “Do-It-Yourself” rain garden model that will provide homeowners with technical and financial support, while the homeowners will be responsible to provide the labor and half the cost of the rain garden materials. We will coordinate another rain garden tour to educate residents on stormwater issues and garner interest.
  • Edgewoods Preserve: We will assist in the fundraising to purchase a wooded hillside property along the Rose Valley Creek in order to preserve valuable resources and environmentally sensitive natural areas along the creek. In January, the EAC is planning a TREEmendous party at Borough Hall to raise funds for the preserve.
  • Spring Mini-Campaign will focus on Trees and Open Space: we plan to coordinate a community-wide tree planting in yards all over town during April in concert with the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, and the Pennsylvania Forestry Council, with a goal of helping children and families understand the value and importance of trees, and increasing the shade tree canopy of Ambler.
  • Borough Park Maintenance: The EAC will continue to support on-going maintenance in Borough Park with EAC funds as necessary to ensure that the riparian buffers and park are maintained as best as possible and that invasive species are adequately removed.

We truly appreciate the support that Borough Council provides through budget allocation and council member participation in our events, and we look forward to supporting the Borough from an environmentally conscious and sustainable perspective. We are happy to help and are open to new ideas for programs from Council. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions. You can reach us at

October 21, 2015 Meeting Minutes

October 21, 2015


7:00PM to 9:45PM

Members in Attendance:  
Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Susan Johnsson,
Mary-Margaret Monser

Absent Members:
Matt Cooley
Charles Charlesworth
(One Vacancy)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:
Susan Curry
Chris Raines
Raija Suomela
Rachel Rosenfeld
Jill and Christian Sanchez

Action Items by Person:

· Steve Maakestad – .Meet with Mary Aversa. Give presentation to Borough Council. Contact prospective EAC members. Check with Gail about carryover process for unused budget funds.

  • Susan Johnsson – Send application to the Fort Washington Business Alliance. Contact Raija about invoices.
  • Susan Curry – Work on Edgewood Forest Preserve Project.
  • Mary-Margaret Monser – Create Powerpoint and give presentation at Library on November 5th. Contact Linda Hode. Send Chris Raines specs for image needed for emblem.
  • Charles Charlesworth – Coordinate TerraCycle Program to collect specific recyclables at Borough Hall with Sue Garrity of Shady Grove (cereal bags, tape dispensers, pens/markers/mechanical pencils, glue bottles, plastic bottle spray  triggers, cheese wrappers, juice pouches).
  • Chris Raines – Add photos from EAC events and monthly minutes to EAC web site
    Post updates to Facebook page. Send photos to Mary Margaret for November 5th Presentation.
  • Rachel Rosenfeld – Attend November 5th presentation and help to answer audience questions.
  • Raija Suomela – Communicate with park maintenance contractors to begin work in Borough Park.

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council/Committee Updates:

The planning commission gave a presentation describing their role in the county, explaining how they have worked with Ambler borough for 42 years and outlining two proposed conservation ordinances (Riparian Buffer and Steep Slope). Dulcy Flaherty, Eric Jarrell and Lauren VanDyk each presented information Ms. VanDyk has been working on the ordinances with the Ambler Planning Commission for the past several months.

Residents in the vicinity of Rose Valley Creek expressed dissatisfaction with the ordinances. Much of the concern was about the distance of setback from the water’s edge for Zone 1 and Zone 2. In rural areas, the setback is 100 feet for each zone and for urban areas, it is usually 25 feet. The planning commission has agreed to make the setback distance 15 feet for Ambler. There are specific guidelines for Zone 1 and Zone 2. Glenn Kucher is planning to meet individually with residents who are affected by these ordinances.

Joe Bresnan mentioned that the flood ordinance is currently being rewritten.

The TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for phosphorus was discussed in relation to the water quality of the creek and the ordinances. Mary Aversa stated that the ordinances were only part of the necessary actions that the borough needed to take. Capturing and filtering all of the water runoff before it reaches the creek will be a large and costly project. She also alluded to the improvements that may be needed in the waste water treatment plant.

  1. Health of the Creeks: Some borough residents are blowing their fallen leaves into the creeks. There is a need for education about how to improve the health of the creeks. Stephen will talk to Mary Aversa and Glenn Kucher to learn whether the borough has a brochure about keeping creeks healthy.

A resident on Edgewood cut down several large healthy trees last weekend. Many neighbors are quite upset and someone spray painted swear words on one of the stumps. This tree stump has since been removed.

  1. Edgewood Forest Preserve: Susan Curry made a proposal that a 501c3 organization purchase the woodlands steep slope property on Edgewood Drive and suggested that the EAC and whole community participate in raising the tax-deductible funds to do so. She suggested that the property be transferred with a permanent Conservation Easement to the Borough for on-going maintenance.  Susan has spoken to the Wissahickon Watershed, but the size and current condition of the property does not meet the WVWA’s criterion. Susan plans to speak to the Heritage Conservancy about partnering with the property purchase.
  2. Removal of Invasive Plants in Borough Park: Raija stated that Red Tail would begin removing invasive plants later in the week. She will follow up with them to clarify which plants will be removed and report discussion to the EAC following the meeting. Rachel was concerned that the Knotweed has dried up already and suggested that Red Tail remove other invasive plants.
  3. Mesothelioma Lecture: The lecture was held on September 19th, 2015. The meeting was a success. Diane Blackburn-Zambetti was thorough and clear in presenting many aspects of the disease, prevention and risks as well as types of asbestos and where it can be found. The audience was engaged and interested in the subject. Nineteen people attended. To publicize this event, 1000 flyers were distributed to neighborhoods in Ambler, 12 local churches and many Butler Avenue businesses.
  4. Healthy Wissahickon Film: Chris Raines will work with Lindsay to schedule an EAC showing of the Healthy Wissahickon Film in early winter 2016. Possible locations/events are a church coffeehouse, a senior center, or a Fort Washington Business Alliance luncheon.
  5. Fort Washington Business Alliance: The EAC decided to join the FWBA for 2016. Susan Johnsson will send the application and fee. Our goal is for one EAC member to attend the luncheon each month to discuss ongoing initiatives and enlist support for projects from the group.
  6. Protecting Green Spaces in Ambler: Presentation is scheduled for November 5th at the Wissahickon Library (Ambler Branch). The event begins at 6:30pm with tea and scones. The presentation is scheduled for 7pm. Chris Raines will purchase the refreshments, set up and clean up. Mary-Margaret will speak about the current condition of the creek, the need for environmental ordinances, the Temple Study, and the EAC’s role.
  1. The BoRit Cag Meeting was held on October 7th. Gordon Chase was appointed chair.
  1. EAC Budget was briefly discussed. Approximately $800 is still available.
  2. Rain Gardens: A Rain Garden on the Ambler Borough Property was suggested to be placed in the area near the building’s entrance was discussed. Stephen will discuss this project with the borough manager.Mary Margaret is considering a rain garden on her property.
  3. Hometown News was mentioned briefly. Several EAC articles and photos appeared in the newsletter.
  4. Membership: There are two openings on the EAC. Matt Cooley will change his status from Member to Associate Member. He will send a letter to borough council announcing is change.


  1. Meeting with Borough Manager: The need for a meeting with Mary Aversa was discussed. Stephen Maakestad will meet with Mary Aversa to discuss EAC agenda. He will learn what types of projects she would like the EAC to focus on.
  2. December Committee or Council Meeting: Each year the EAC gives a short presentation to borough council. Stephen Maakestad will give this presentation outlining EAC accomplishments for 2015 and goals for 2016.
  3. December Meeting: The Lucky Well is being considered for a dinner meeting in December.

Items Postponed Until The Next Meeting:

  • Plant swap project
  • TMDL Phosphorous Update

The meeting was adjourned around 9:45pm.

Next Meeting Date: November 28, 2015 at 7:00PM – 131 Rosemary Avenue, Auditorium