Intergovernmental Agreement Will Help Municipalities Share Resources, and Costs While Working to Preserve the Health of the Wissahickon
Ambler, PA (August 24, 2016) – 12 suburban municipalities plus the Philadelphia Water Department in the Wissahickon Watershed have adopted an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) ordinance to officially move forward with the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership. The Agreement simply states that they will commit to work together on a real plan to improve drinking water, mitigate damaging flooding, reduce streambank erosion, protect fish and wildlife and restore valuable recreation area throughout the Creek corridor. Local municipalities began meeting in June to vote on joining the Agreement with the last meetings occurring August 23, 2016 with North Wales Borough and Lower Gwynedd voting to sign the IGA.
“The Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership is a unique, unprecedented opportunity for our local communities to come together to restore the Wissahickon Creek,” said Rick Collier, Board Chair, Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA). “This is our chance to “Own the Solution.” 13 of the 16 municipalities plus 3 of the 4 wastewater treatment plants signing on, sending a strong message of commitment to a #CleanWissahickon.”
WVWA once again led the effort to educate elected officials representing the 16 municipalities in the watershed – as well as local residents – about the importance of officially signing onto the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership. Some residents remain unaware of the Creek's importance to drinking water or that is is officially considered "impaired". Through these efforts, over 1,100 residents signed a petition urging their local officials to vote to pass the IGA.
Decision-makers from all arenas say that the Partnership is imperative to protecting and restoring clean water. It enables the municipalities to own the solution collaboratively or together, and shape future regulatory guidelines instead of complying with the current pending strict pollution limit, or Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) from the Federal government. The Partnership reduces costs for all participating municipalities due to the William Penn Foundation’s commitment of over $1 million in financial support for planning. In addition, the Partnership is advantageous in that it allows municipalities to share resources and receive guidance from experts in the field.
“This is a win-win situation for today – for municipality leaders, for community members, and for the overall health of the Wissahickon Creek,” said Laurie Grant, Director of Institutional Advancement at WVWA. “More importantly, we should be thinking about tomorrow and join together to secure a healthy future for our children and grandchildren.”
The thirteen municipalities in the watershed who have signed the Intergovermental Agreement: Abington, Ambler, Cheltenham, Lansdale, Lower Gwynedd, Montgomery, North Wales, Philadelphia, Springfield, Upper Dublin, Upper Gwynedd, Whitemarsh, Whitpain.
Horsham Township, Upper Moreland Township, Worcester Township, which make up only 3% of the watershed have deferred signing the IGA at this time, but have voiced their support.
Representatives from each of the municipalities who signed onto the IGA will meet in the fall to officially appoint the team and determine next steps.