When it comes to storm drainage, there is strength in numbers

The Guilderland Town Board approved a motion at its Tuesday, Aug. 19, meeting to join the Albany County Storm Water Coalition.

The coalition is a group of 11 local municipalities that provide information, research and coordination for the participating entities.

There have been tremendous benefits to working collaboratively, said Nancy Heinzen, coordinator of the intermunicipal agency. "We're a group that's familiar with each other. We've done a lot of projects together with some success."

Heinzen said Guilderland, like other government-owned entities, must comply with the State Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit, and must adhere to six separate directives, including public education, facility management and tracking discharge into waters of the United States.

Guilderland Supervisor Ken Runion said joining the coalition is a proactive measure and will save the town of Guilderland money in the long run.

He said the town spends nearly $100,000 to comply with federal and state regulation to manage storm water and produce a report on progress. Membership in the coalition is $14,582 per year, and will assist with the compliance of the regulations.

Board members raised a few concerns at the meeting before they unanimously approved the motion to join the coalition.

First among the concerns was how the coalition will handle the specific drainage problems in Guilderland, such as the inadequate size of a drainage pipe that runs between Bethlehem and Guilderland, and second, that the City of Albany could potentially monopolize the coalition's funding.

Heinzen said storm water issues are usually pretty generic, and that the approach to handle the problems will most likely be similar to problems other municipalities have had. She also said the drain pipe issue is something the coalition will be able to handle, especially in the ways of finding grant money to deal with the issue and sharing of collective knowledge.

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