Bethlehem Press

Sunday, September 24, 2017
PRESS PHOTO BY TRACY RICEJason Smith from Hanover Engineering presenting his plan for the MS4 program. PRESS PHOTO BY TRACY RICEJason Smith from Hanover Engineering presenting his plan for the MS4 program.

DEP says borough must help clean river

Monday, September 11, 2017 by Tracy Rice Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

The borough has learned of a huge undertaking it must tackle and has no choice but to comply. The Department of Environmental Protection was handed a federal mandate to reduce pollution to the Lehigh River, which is listed as impaired waters. Jason Smith from Hanover Engineering gave council members a presentation of what they have proposed. Though the MS4 program they have been working on ways to to reduce sediments by 10 percent within 5 years to comply with the DEP. There is no choice but to comply. In order to accomplish this the borough will need to create some new water basins to handle storm water run off within the borough. This is where Hanover Engineering comes into play. They have a very detailed map and instructions on how to accomplish this and they will work with the borough to help implement these changes. It is definitely a work in progress and there are still a lot of details to be worked out. Council’s main concern was what will all of this cost and how will they pay for it. Smith said he would try and get numbers to Branco as soon as possible so they could work it into the budget for next year.

This project is something that they have 5 years to implement the plan. Fountain Hill is not the only borough to comply with what the Federal government has mandated. According to mith, not much can be done, but comply with this mandate. COuncil member Carolee Gifford said she does not want to undertake all of this without contacting the state representatives to voice their concern over having to foot the bill for this project and see what can be done.

Public Works has unexpectedly received a letter of resignation from Dave Whiteman, effective Sept. 8. They will be conducting interviews to fill his position with the fall and winter season quickly approaching.

Fountain Hill had their first homicide in decades Sept. 5. This is part of an ongoing investigation and Mayor Jose Rosado could not say much, but he assured the residents that the Fountain Hill Police Department is working closely with the Lehigh County task force and the district attorney’s office.

Mayor Rosado commended the Fountain Hill and Bethlehem Police departments for securing the scene in under two minutes. From what little information Mayor Rosado could tell council, it was determined that the victim happened to be in the borough at the time of the murder and it wasn’t a random act of violence. He was not a resident of Fountain Hill, but South Bethlehem.

There was a fire on Benner Avenue and the fire hydrant did not function properly. Two families were displaced but there were no fatalities. Council is outraged that the City of Bethlehem has not stepped up and fixed the problem with the fire hydrants. Executive Administrator Anthony Branco has asked Bethlehem for maintenance reports, but has not received them yet. Solicitor Peter Lehr suggested giving Bethlehem a deadline to have the necessary repairs and testing done on the fire hydrants. Fountain Hill rents the fire hydrants from Bethlehem and pays $17,000 a year. Bethlehem is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the fire hydrants in the borough. Bethlehem fire hydrants and water related inquires department was contacted and when asked what was going to be done about the malfunctioning hydrants, they said, “no comment.”