Pennington officials clarify stormwater discharge ordinance

Connections will only be removed for road reconstruction projects, hazardous conditions

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ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
Pennington Borough Hall at 30 N Main St. in Pennington.

After residential concerns of facing fines for drain connections to Pennington’s storm sewer system, borough officials have made clarifications and amended its stormwater discharge ordinance.

Residents with a physical connection to the borough’s separate storm sewer will not have to worry about the connection being removed unless it has to be removed for a road reconstruction project or it is causing a hazardous condition.

This pertains to physical connections to the separate storm sewer system that has been in place before or on Sept. 5, which was added as part of the new amendments to Pennington’s stormwater discharge ordinance.

“We wanted to clarify the distinction of which stormwater drainage would be allowable and clarify particularly the intention to deal with physical connections to the stormwater system,” Councilwoman Nadine Stern said, adding they wanted to make the distinctions “very clear.”

“We in addition are making a point about existing connections and that is not the intention of council to be sleuthing and finding existing connections and asking that they be changed.”

The Pennington Council carried the public hearing for the ordinance after adding the amendments to the Borough Council’s Nov. 6 meeting.

“To be very clear and precise on what this ordinance is we are basically codifying what is an existing practice in the borough,” Mayor James Davy said.

If there is a drainage system that comes into the roadway, the borough will work with the resident to redirect the pipe back onto the right-of-way during road projects.

“… such that it is not coming into the street. We do that as part of the road project,” Davy added. “That is what we are doing and that has been what the intent of this ordinance was always about. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Under the ordinance, the only enforcement is the removal of a connection that is causing a hazardous condition such as bad icing on a borough road.

“We will deal with those issues in discussions with the property owner, but those items would be prohibited,” Davy said.

If a physical connection is causing a hazardous condition, the property owner will be given a written notice that would require the removal of the connection and remediation of the hazardous condition under the supervision of the borough engineer or other enforcing official, according to the amendment.

The cost would be on the owner. Should the owner not comply with the notice to remove the connection or remediate the condition, a determination would be made if that owner was in violation of the ordinance.

The borough could then remove the physical connection and do the remediation. The costs would then be applied to the property owner following tax assessment or recovered through the court.