Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition Summer Projects

NVEC SUMMER PROJECTS

Info from June 1, 2018 NVEC meeting

NVEC has established five working groups for Summer 2018 projects, with one or two point people for each.

Readers interested in getting more information and/or helping with these projects, please email our main address: nvec2018@gmail.com

The five projects are:

a) Stormstown/Halfmoon Township small area plan (threat to convert 1,000+ acres of farmland to housing.

b) Toll Brothers/Whitehall Road Regional Park issues – see below for some short updates.

c) Nestle fight – tracking whether and where Nestle makes additional attempts in Centre County.

d) Regional Integrated Water Resource Management Plan development and advocacy.

e) Right to Know workshop and possible “Environmental Regulations as they Affect Centre County Issues” workshop – see below for more information about the latter.

BRIEF TB/WRRP UPDATE

At the June 1 meeting, NVEC also had a discussion about Toll Brothers, Whitehall Road Regional Park, and sewage management.

Dave Stone announced that State College Borough Council would be discussing the sewage management options at their Monday, June 4 meeting and that it would be helpful if people came to either speak or support speakers, who would be asking Borough Council to vote to direct Borough staff to engage in discussions with developers about conducting a capacity study related to sending the sewage to the Waupelauni/Whitehall intersection in State College, rather than the Stonebridge/Whitehall intersection in Ferguson Township.

This is related to the issue of how having the large pump station below the proposed WRRP opens up the whole valley for additional development, and trying to prevent that.

We also discussed the need for NVEC reps to ask the State College Borough Water Authority board during public comment:

1) What will be the effect on water customer rates of the TB/WRRP developments? and

2) How much volume of water does SCBWA anticipate the TB/WRRP project will consume?

The second question is related to the varying estimates of the sewage volume to be managed by the new pump station. Estimates range between about 48,000 gallons per day (used by TB and accepted by UAJA and DEP) and 220,000 gallons per day, depending on the calculation formulas used. The highest estimates use 100 gpd per person, and assume that many students will double-up to have two students occupy some of the 1,093 bedrooms TB plans to construct.

At the June 4, 2018 State College Borough Council meeting, council discussed the issues, and then voted 4-1 to approve a motion by Evan Myers directing staff to reach out to all relevant parties (Toll Brothers, UAJA, SCBWA and/or Ferg. Twp.) to find out, as a preliminary question, whether Toll Brothers is interested in exploring the possibility of running the sewage pipe the shorter distance to State College collection system at Waupelauni and Whitehall instead of running it more than a mile to the UAJA collection system in Ferguson Township at Stonebridge and Whitehall.

The proposed conversations with TB might also include the question of whether TB is willing to pay up to $175,000 or so to conduct a capacity study for the State College Borough sewage collection and conveyance system (the pipes) and, if it turns out capacity expansions are necessary, whether TB would pay for those.

Borough Council did not allocated any funding. It was mostly a matter of directing staff to find out where TB stands on the issues.

  • Votes in favor: Myers, Engeman, Lafer, Murphy.
  • Votes against: Dauler
  • Absent: Brown and Barlow.

Many NVEC members and/or non-member supporters showed up to speak or support speakers, including Dorothy, Don, Bernie, Dave Stone, Scott, Art, Karl, Mark H., Dee, Heather, and others.

For readers interested in watching the discussion and vote on C-Net, it ran from approximately 7:55 to about 8:35 p.m.

STATE & FEDERAL REGULATIONS AS THEY RELATE TO CENTRE COUNTY ISSUES

At the June 1 NVEC meeting, Mark Huncik gave a presentation about two Centre County air quality case studies he’s been involved with, over the last seven years or so.

One case study is the West Campus Steam Plant at Penn State, and its conversion from coal to natural gas/lowering of the emissions stacks/planned addition of electricity generation CT/HRSG boilers at the same time as a construction boom in high-rise apartment buildings in downtown State College.

Long story short, the combination is degrading local air quality by bouncing emissions from the plant off the high-rises and onto the ground in a few “hot spots” downtown.

The other case study is updates and expansions at the UAJA wastewater treatment plant near the Nittany Mall, and their relationship to odor complaints at new housing developments in that area as development moves closer to the sewage treatment facility while the volume of sewage increases with more development in the whole Sewer Service Area (high-rises downtown plus sprawl in the suburbs) and bump-outs of the Regional Growth Boundary.

Dave Stone also explained how Penn State is simultaneously planning a $40-$50 million expansion of the University Drive PSU sewage treatment plant to handle more sewage flow from campus, without reference to odor and air quality impact assessments in the areas around the PSU sewage plant.

NVEC decided to organize some public workshops on “Local, State and Federal Environmental Regulations & How they Affect Centre County Environmental Issues,” to educate the community more about the air quality issues Mark works on, along with water and land issues.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.