Bethlehem board hears storm-water update

"As you develop, you need to maintain storm water on your property," Cunningham said, adding that for new construction sites "the water runoff cannot be greater than what runs off of the property currently."

The water runoff on the new sites is diverted into small ponds, which fill up when there's runoff and dry out when there's not, Cunningham said.

The supervisor expressed concerns about possible mosquito problems as a result of the stagnate water and said the town would be discussing the issue with the county.

In the meantime, the town is in charge of monitoring and enforcing the use of the retention ponds on all construction sites.

"It's hard but we try to manage them as best we can," Cunningham said.

Penman explained to the board about the town's "pollution prevention and good housekeeping operations," which include over 350 hours of training for town staff, which Penman said was "a pretty significant number."

The town is also continuing 500 miles of street sweeping, has collected 50,000 cubic yards of leaves and yard waste, he said, and is looking into a more environmentally friendly way of de-icing the roads.

Penman also updated the board on the MS4 group, a grant-funded group of 12 municipalities in Albany County that focuses on the issues of storm-water management. Penman said currently the group is operating under a grant that expires in 2009, but that they were working toward the creation of a permanent storm-water coalition.

Municipalities with more than 1,000 residents per-square-mile are a part of MS4.

Public education and outreach has become a priority for storm-water management, Penman said, and the town has set up a page on its Web site to receive complaints on illicit discharge. He added that the storm-water department in Bethlehem and other neighboring communities are attempting to "regionally brand" storm-water issues through the use of standardize signs and insignias.

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