The flooding caused by Tropical Storm Isaias damaged multiple underground pipes within the Borough, and alarmed residents and Councilmembers. Infrastructure Chair Fred Bush led several discussions of the topic in the Infrastructure Committee, working with vice-chair Michelle Paninopoulos, looking for tools to increase the Borough’s resilience to heavy rainfall, which is likely to come with greater frequency due to climate change.

As a result, the Borough is making its stormwater review guidelines stricter by making full stormwater compliance kick in for smaller projects — this is more in keeping with Narberth’s small lot sizes and is likely to have a significant impact. Developers working on subdivisions and land development will be required to manage the stormwater outflow from their properties, and less water will be hitting Borough streets.

Separate from the flooding issue, the Borough is required by the State to reduce the amount of pollutants that are entering the watershed from stormwater runoff over the next five years. The Infrastructure Committee (Fred and Michelle) worked with the Borough Engineer to craft our mandated MS4 Pollutant Reduction Plan (if we did not submit this in time, we would risk being fined for our runoff) ahead of schedule, a plan which has been approved.  They pressed for the plan to not rely solely on stand-alone stormwater management infrastructure, but rather to incorporate “green bump outs.” Why? Because these bump outs serve multiple purposes: they filter stormwater, they act as natural traffic calming devices, and they beautify our Borough. Just as important, these kinds of projects (unlike hidden engineered infrastructure) can help us to attract regional transportation grants for their implementation. We are always looking to maximize the Borough’s return by finding more efficient ways to accomplish multiple goals.

In addition, we have planned, funded and scheduled a full and long-overdue inspection of the Borough’s stormwater and sewer infrastructure by our engineering team, starting later this year, and will proceed to replace segments as appropriate.

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