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Revised groundwater preservation ordinance for Nockmixon again reaches advertising stage


Nockamixon Township has again reached the advertising stage for a proposed groundwater preservation ordinance.

It features revisions made as a result of input from a special public work session last October, and from local agricultural operators at a more recent regular public board of supervisors meeting,

The unanimous action was taken by the supervisors at their July 20 public meeting, paving the way for possible adoption at their August or September public meeting. They noted no further public comments had been received, and that they were proceeding with the advertising step in the process per the document posted on the township website, dated July 17.

Further reviews from the county and township planning commissions were not expected to present any further significant changes.

Over six years actively in the making as legislation, and originating over 20 years ago in the township’s Environmental Advisory Committee, the proposed revised groundwater preservation ordinance has been developed through the efforts of township officials, their staffs, and scientist and lay volunteers from Bridgeton and Tinicum as well as Nockamixon.

The proposal is especially concerned with helping to assure adequate supplies for all local wells, as individual property owners propose any changes in their use of the common groundwater resource, or sell their property to successors. It is also especially concerned with helping to assure effectiveness of the ordinance in the event of any court challenges.

In those two key regards, it has received extensive consideration and support from both the township engineer and the township solicitor. Officials have emphasized that minor requests for changes in water use, such as for adding a room to a house, would not be burdened by the new proposal, while all cases would be subject to individual testing, instead of being subject to general criteria.

They have also emphasized that the future viability of the use of wells for drinking water in the township was at stake, and that without adequate preservation of the common resource, the township might be forced to enter into a public water connection, which would require large assessments for each property owner.

The new ordinance is to be in the form of an article added to the township Code of Ordinances, that is to “regulate groundwater withdrawal within the township to ensure the availability of reliable, safe and adequate water supplies to support permitted land uses without casting detrimental impacts to other users by establishing the standards for the hydrogeologic evaluations to be conducted prior to drilling new wells or altering existing wells.”

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, and the Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code, are cited for support. The township’s bedrock aquifer systems that supply its groundwater are noted to range from only marginal to moderate yielding, with certain units also known to present quality problems, of the sort that municipalities commonly deal with by avoidance or treatment.

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