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Stormwater project set for Williamsport

Residents will have an extra charge on their water bill to help maintain stormwater pipes.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — On rainy days in the city of Williamsport, catch basins found on street corners play a big role in preventing flooding and sewer backups. 

Last year the city transferred all ownership of the stormwater systems over to the Williamsport Sanitary Authority.

"The Water and Sanitary Authority handles the water pipes and sewer pipes in the roads, and the city of Williamsport thought it would make sense to transfer us the third pipe in the road, which is stormwater because pipes and pumps is sort of our business," said Michael Miller, the executive director of the Williamsport Sanitary Authority.

If you take a closer look at these storm drains, you will probably find debris or weeds growing around them. 

Underneath the ground, the situation is even worse.

"The pipes are in deteriorating conditions. They have definitely reached the end of their useful life," said Eric Smithgall, the director of engineering at the Williamsport Sanitary Authority. 

Smithgall says 100 miles of underground stormwater pipes in the city will need to be replaced.

"So with 100 miles of maintenance, roughly a mile a year that we will be replacing. So, that does put us on a 100-year plan, and that is based off the useful life of the pipe. Most of the pipe you are going to see going in for stormwater mains is plastic which has a life expectancy of 75 to 100 years," he added. 

To pay for this, the Williamsport Sanitary Authority will charge a monthly fee. 

This includes a $10 monthly fee for all residential units. 

Other units will be charged based on their size. 

"Every parcel of real estate in the city will have a stormwater charge accessed to it. Including non-profits, including businesses and including residential units," added Miller.

Folks in Williamsport will begin to see the extra charge in October, which is also when work on the project will begin.

If you have any questions regarding the fee or the stormwater project, you can find out those answers here.

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