Local municipalities can partner with the Brandywine Valley Association to help meet their MS4 sediment limits.That was the message from Jane Fava, coordinator of the BVA's Red Streams Blue program, during a meeting last Friday at the Kennett Area Senior Center.
Red Streams Blue is a program created by the BVA with the goal of ensuring all of the streams in the Brandywine and Red Clay Valley watershed that are impacted (red) are improved enough to meet state water quality standards (blue).
The program takes into consideration data from numerous sources, including water samples and a stream walk to identify problem areas. A restoration plan is then developed and implemented through a variety of programs designed to address specific areas of concern.
Aplan has already been designed and is awaiting implementation in Tributary 414, a section of the Red Clay Valley watershed that stretches from East Marlborough Township on the Longwood Gardens property to Kennett Township just south of Hillendale Road.
Fava said that when new sediment control protocols are issued in the next round of MS4 permits, the BVA is prepared to work with area municipalities to implement the Red Streams Blue program and help reduce sediment runoff from affecting the streams.
Sediment, Fava said, continues to be one of the main factors in stream impairment, from agricultural field runoff to stream bank erosion caused by poorly managed stormwater drainage.
The sediment allocation protocols, called the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs), will require townships to somehow manage to reduce sediment created by stormwater runoff by more than 50 percent in certain communities.
For example, in London Britain, where an estimated 1.27 tons of sediment reaches the White Clay Creek per day, the township will have to reduce that number to 4.439 percent, a 38.5 percent reduction.
In New Garden Township, however, reducing their daily allotment from 12.9 to 5.8, or 55.01 percent, presents a larger problem.
"At some point, the EPAis going to say, 'This is what you're supposed to meet,' but they're not telling us how to do that," Fava said. "And the science isn't even there, at this point."
The reason communities have a TMDL, Fava said, is because they have a red stream. Getting that stream up to state levels through Red Streams Blue would reduce their problems significantly.
"In this watershed, if we do everything we can to bring it up to standards, then that's it," Fava said.
The program, Fava said, shares the same goals as the MS4 and that improved water quality would show that the communities and the BVA are doing everything they can to reduce sediment runoff.
"I want to say, 'Make the TMDLs go away,' but I don't think they will ever go away," Fava said. "You'll have them forever, like a tattoo that was a bad decision in the first place and may never go away."
Community leaders interested in learning more about the Red Streams Blue program can contact Fava at 610-793-1090.