Lansdale Borough Parks and Recreation Committee took one step toward improving the quality of the Schuylkill River on Wednesday by recommending borough council approve a $76,800 grant application through the Schulylkill River Restoration Fund Grant program.
The deadline for the application is May 30. Parks and Recreation Director Carl Saldutti said the parks department had already submitted a letter of intent, which was approved to move forward with a formal application.
The entire project, including engineering and construction, is $96,000. If successful with the grant award, Lansdale must match 25 percent, or $19,200.
"The intent of (the grant) is to improve the quality and quantity of water going into streams and waterways in the Schuylkill River watershed," Saldutti said.
The grant is administered by the Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area, which is managed by the nonprofit Schuylkill River Greenway Association. According to its website, the grant focuses on three sources of pollution: runoff, agricultural pollution and abandoned mine drainage.
Since 2006, the fund has collected more than $2 million and funded 42 projects, of which 22 are completed. For instance, in 2013, East Norriton Middle School, through the Montgomery County Conservation District, received $20,000 to install a rain garden, naturalize the existing stormwater basin and install two cisterns for stormwater capture and reuse.
Fund monies come from public and private partnerships and include donors like Exelon Generation's Limerick Generating Station, the Philadelphia Water Department, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Aqua PA.
An area at White's Road Park near the amphitheater was selected as a site that most closely fits the criteria of the grant program, Saldutti said.
"We will create an infiltration trench—not a basin—parallel to the stream. Runoff from the amphitheater seating goes in one direction, and we will capture the water, take out sediments and pollutants and then allow it to get into the stream," Saldutti said.
In conjunction with the project, there will be streambank stabilization too at White's Road Park.
Saldutti said the required matching funds were not budgeted for 2014.
"We don't have it in the budget," he said. "One of the things management heard loud and clear was that the borough needs to go after grants that make sense."
Saldutti said some grants, like this one, have just been announced to municipalities.
"It's not like we knew about it last year when we were doing the budget. A lot have come forward recently that are relatively new," he said.
Furthermore, the grant would aid in Lansdale's compliance under the Environmental Protection Agency's Stormwater Discharge from Municipal Storm Sewer Systems conveyance.
"Through best management practices and stormwater management, there are so much sediments and pollutants to take out before it is discharged in the stream," Saldutti said. "The borough must file an annual report with best managment practices in place on what streams are impacted by MS4 and then we get a credit toward meeting our annual requirements."