MOORESTOWN — One week after torrential rain flooded much of Burlington County, the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters hosted a meet and greet Tuesday with the mayor and deputy mayor to discuss one of the township’s more pervasive problems — stormwater management.
Around 30 residents attended the informal meeting at the Moorestown Community House, where officials answered questions and updated those in attendance on what the township has planned this year to address the problem.
Mayor Linda Petriello said that the township has a number of projects budgeted for 2019 that aim to help alleviate stormwater issues in the towns.
Those projects include improvements to Strawbridge Lake, improvements to the inlets along Haines Drive, starting the engineering to replace the aging water main underneath Main Street, and most importantly, Petriello said, the hiring of a stormwater management coordinator.
“A lot of times stormwater issues involve so many different people in the town, county, state ... it’s virtually impossible to solve these problems when you don’t have anyone dedicated to seeing them through. We want to get someone in there whose job it is to focus on solving these problems long term,” the mayor said.
She added that the township has also started engineering studies of some of the problem areas in town.
According to Joan Ponessa, chair of the township’s environmental advisory committee, which has been working with the township to identify 10 of those problem areas, the areas are often near the Pennsauken Creek such as the Lenola area or streets along the Conrail railroad line as well as Strawbridge Lake.
“The township and the committee is working on identifying areas that are most critical ... we’re trying to zero in on most readily solvable problems,” Ponessa said Friday.
Another problem the township will be starting to look into improving its sewer treatment center, which a 2017 coastal vulnerability study commissioned by the environmental committee identified as extremely vulnerable in a major rain storm, Ponessa said.
“I certainly don’t think everything is solvable ... but I think you could say we’re working on it,” said Ponessa.
In addition to flooding, stormwater can also lead to pollution, especially in a town like Moorestown that has a separate sewer system. In a separate sewer system, stormwater is carried straight into the nearby watersheds.
The township has three watersheds — the Pennsauken Creek, the Rancocas Creek and Strawbridge Lake.
To try and reduce pollution to the township tries to discourage the use of pesticides.
Petriello also said the township was going to begin to enforce its code more stringently, such as citing homeowners who rake their leaves into the street.
According to Ponessa, its against the township code to rake leaves into the street because that makes it easier for the leaves to clog storm drains, resulting in more flooding.
“None of this stuff is sexy and it’s expensive, but we’re going to get it done,” Petriello said.