Six more townships will be required to participate in a federal stormwater control program starting early next year.
Liverpool, York, Medina, Lafayette, Montville and Guilford townships have six months to create a stormwater management plan and present it to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
“They are going to be a part of this, which we’ve been anticipating,” said Jeff Van Loon, director of the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Van Loon said Tuesday that the program finally has incorporated data from the 2010 U.S. Census, prompting the expansion. The previous areas of participation — mainly the eastern edge of the county — were based on the 2000 U.S. Census, which showed 20,000 fewer county residents than the 172,000 now in Medina County.
Hinckley, Brunswick Hills, Granger, Sharon and Wadsworth townships, as well as the county’s three cities, will continue to participate.
The program has three major components: managing stormwater, documenting the management efforts and educational outreach.
“Prior to Ohio EPA implementing this program in 2003, Medina County already had some programs in place,” county civil engineer Dan Willhoite said. “A lot of it was trying to document what we’re already doing.”
Though each township must create a plan, only certain sections of each are included in the program. In Guilford Township, there are 47 homes on its eastern border that are affected. But the plan would cover almost 3,000 homes in the northwest portion of Montville Township. Population density and other factors determine which areas are included in the program, Willhoite said.
Townships will have the option to apply individually or possibly “piggyback” on pre-existing plans, such as the one provided by the county government.
Willhoite said several county offices are organizing a meeting at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 30 in the county administration building at 144 N. Broadway St., Medina, to provide background on the program for township officials. A representative from the Ohio EPA also will attend to answer questions.
“For some of these townships, this will be the first time they would have any involvement (in the program),” he said.
County Commissioner Tim Smith expressed disappointment during the commissioners’ weekly meeting Tuesday that the county is required to expand its participation in the program.
“It sounds like the federal government is reaching out to control more and more areas,” Smith said.
Townships will be required to pay “nominal” fees to the Ohio EPA, but the full cost of the program to local governments was not available.
The Medina County Highway Engineers, Health Department, Sanitary Engineer and Soil and Water District all provide services to facilitate the program.
Willhoite said the new areas of the program will likely put a strain on county offices.
“The more requirements … certainly take time and effort,” he said. “At some part down the line, that’s going to stretch county resources.”
Contact reporter Elizabeth Dobbins at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.