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BWA, PennFuture and Mt. Pocono Municipal Authority reach Agreement

February 29, 2012

For more than 20 years, Forest Hills Run has been hurting.    Once a delightful small trout stream, Forest Hills Run became the poster child for what happens when you ask a small stream to do too much. Discharge from the Mt. Pocono sewage treatment plant has caused serious, ongoing pollution of the stream.   Finally, in 2002, the stream was added to the state’s “Impaired Streams list” meaning official recognition was given to the impacts from the Borough.

Public Access Guaranteed by Agreement

An extra bonus for the public will be access to the newly restored stream.  When the project is complete, MPMA will place a deed restriction on a corridor along the stream on the adjoining property and allow a trail for public access that can connect other open space properties.

Just getting on the list did not trigger any action from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) however. It took a lawsuit by BWA and PennFuture, filed in December 2010, to get serious discussions underway.   The grounds for the suit were violations of the temperature limits set in the discharge permit, but all parties recognized that just installing a chiller to cool the discharge was not likely to solve the impairment of the stream.  Tests showed that an overload of nutrients was part of the problem.

Immediately after filing the suit, BWA and PennFuture began meeting with Mt. Pocono Municipal Authority (MPMA), owners of the plant.  From the start, MPMA representatives indicated their desire to get the discharge out of the stream and solve the problem for good.    And that is what the agreement will do.

The plan is for MPMA to purchase an adjoining property and install equipment to spray treated wastewater on the land so that plants and soil can filter out the excess nutrients.  The spray fields will be installed in phases and MPMA will have the stream studied twice a year.  When the studies show that the stream is restored, further phases of the project will not be required. 

In winter months, when wastewater cannot be sprayed on the land, the plant will discharge to the stream. 

The agreement limits the total discharge to 400,000 gallons per day until studies show the stream has recovered.  Then the discharge can go to 500,000 gpd.  Both these limits allow for growth in the Borough, as the current discharge is approximately 250,000 gpd. 

It will take several years before the first spray field is installed.  Those of us who have waited 20 + years for that day will be patient, as long as progress continues. 

MOUNT POCONO OPENS BIDDING FOR CONTRACTORS TO CREATE SPRAY IRRIGATION SYSTEM (copy of permit, letters, advertisement to bid- 1/3/17)

BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES OF FOREST HILLS RUN, OCTOBER 20, 2016

 

 DEP Approval of revised Act 537 Plan - implementing Consent Decree (7-17-14)

Pocono Record Editorial

12-6-2013

Pocono Record 12-3-2013

Pocono Record 3-1-2012

Consent Decree

Spray field exhibit

Press Release

MPMA Letter to Ratepayers

Sewer rate comparison

Is Forest Hills Run Polluted?

More info

 

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P.O. Box 339 Henryville, PA 18332 - Phone: (570) 839-1120