The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering many Lehigh Valley townships and boroughs to improve their programs for managing stormwater.
The city of Easton also is receiving the order.
The local communities are among 85 Pennsylvania municipalities that were sent the EPA orders Tuesday.
All are in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.
While an EPA news release states the orders are designed to improve water quality in local streams and the Chesapeake Bay, "which is downstream of most of the areas," stormwater in the Lehigh Valley ultimately makes its way to Delaware Bay.
EPA's news release also contains some glitches.
For example, it listed the borough of Fountain Hill under "Luzerne & Northampton County." Fountain Hill is in Lehigh County.
Under Lehigh County, it lists "Macugnie Township." Lehigh County has a borough named Macungie and Upper and Lower Macungie townships, but no Macungie Township.
An EPA spokesman was looking into those glitches for clarification Tuesday afternoon.
EPA issued the orders to augment Pennsylvania’s efforts to ensure effective programs are in place to improve water quality.
EPA's objective in issuing the orders "is to make it clear to the municipalities that they need to do a better job of implementing their programs for controlling stormwater runoff,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin in the news release.
“In this age of changing climate and more frequent and severe weather events, managing urban stormwater is essential for protecting and restoring the waterways in our communities.”
The federal Clean Water Act requires the cited municipalities to develop and implement a program to reduce contamination of stormwater runoff and prevent illegal discharges of stormwater.
EPA’s orders also require the cited municipalities to correct deficiencies with their respective Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) programs and to come into compliance with their Clean Water Act stormwater discharge permits.
MS4s are publicly-owned drainage systems, including storm drains, pipes, and ditches, which are designed to collect and convey stormwater runoff in urbanized areas.
Urbanized areas generally contain large portions of impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots that channel stormwater directly into local streams, rivers, and other water bodies.
Improperly managed stormwater runoff from urbanized areas can cause flooding and significant erosion, damage streams, and carry excessive nutrients, sediment, metals, volatile organic compounds, and other pollutants downstream.
Municipalities receiving the orders include:
Upper Milford Township
South Whitehall Township
Fountain Hill Borough
Lower Saucon Township
Lower Nazareth Township