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Nockamixon resumes permitting following erosion control


Brown-water pollution of an Exceptional Value stream in Nockamixon Township, that had alarmed and angered residents (Herald, May 2), is now reported to be under control.

In an update provided after the July 16 public board of supervisors meeting, Township Engineer Steve Baluh of C. Robert Wynn Associates said that earth disturbance and other activity from site work for a new development off Route 611, originally performed without sufficient protection of Rapp Creek, was now proceeding “in compliance with erosion controls, and that permitting was in progress to allow the development to go forward.”

Streams with excellent water quality may be designated by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as Exceptional Value (EV). DEP says that “EV waters are to be protected at their existing quality; water quality shall not be lowered.”

“It’s good that there wasn’t a whole lot of mud carrying down the stream,” added Stephen Donovan, chair of the township’s Environmental Action Committee.

At the April 18 supervisors meeting, township officials had assured that corrective action was being diligently pursued by the developer, a subsidiary of Sal Lapio Homes of Sellersville, and its contractor. They also noted that the work on the Harrow Manor development, for which the township granted approval in 2004, had been investigated by the Bucks County Conservation District (BCCD), which was working with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) toward corrective action.

The development had been in limbo for many years, in the aftermath of the economic crash of 2008-2009. While they had approved the project in 2004, following the usual land development guidelines, supervisors had no direct jurisdiction on the recent environmental issues.

Standards for the riparian buffer zone had been updated in 2010, six years after the township’s plan approval. The buffer is a vegetated area near a stream, usually forested, which helps shade and partially protect the stream from the impact of adjacent land uses. Residents had been alarmed at significant tree removal for the development.

In his report during the July 18 meeting, Township Manager Keith DeLuca said he had met with a pest control contractor toward coping with the spotted lanternfly infestation in the township’s Veterans Park.

The work is to feature removing the insects’ Trees of Heaven hosts, which supervisors chair Bill Sadow noted was “all we can do at this time.”