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Williamsport Town Council agrees to do what the town can afford to help bay

November 16, 2012

WILLIAMSPORT, Md. — The Williamsport Town Council approved a resolution earlier this week acknowledging the Chesapeake Bay is impaired by nutrients and sediments, but that it would be fiscally irresponsible for the town to guarantee it will tackle the estimated $11.7 million in town projects recommended to help the bay.

Instead, town officials will do what they can over the next 10 to 20 years to make improvements to help the bay, Town Attorney Edward Kuczynski said during the Nov. 12 Town Council meeting.

Municipalities and counties in the state were asked earlier this year to decide whether they will do what they can afford to help the bay; won’t do anything; or will adopt a plan that states the local government will spend its estimated target amount in the next 13 years to reduce nutrient discharge.

The county’s Watershed Implementation Plan Committee created a list of unspecified projects or practices that local governments could tackle to help reduce nitrogen and phosphorous discharged into the local watershed. Those projects or practices came with estimated costs.

For Williamsport, that amount is $11,721,072 for stormwater runoff projects.

Too much nitrogen and phosphorous in the bay causes algae blooms, which can cut off sunlight to the water and, as they decompose, deplete the water’s oxygen supply, officials have said. That suffocates aquatic life such as crabs and oysters.

The Williamsport Town Council adopted the resolution by a 5-0 vote. Town Councilman Timothy Fraker was absent from the meeting.

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— Julie E. Greene

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