Enhanced program at Plant 3 in Williamsport yields results
High Steel's Williamsport Facility Outperforms Stormwater Quality Requirements
Stormwater includes runoff from rain and snowmelt that flows over the ground, into the stormwater system, or directly into streams and rivers. In undeveloped areas, stormwater is slowed by natural vegetation, allowing the majority of the water to seep into the ground.
However, in developed areas, stormwater does not easily soak into the ground. This results in a higher amount of flow into waterways, with untreated stormwater carrying pollutants such as oil, sediment, chemicals, and fertilizers. Proper management of stormwater systems reduces threats to public health, safety, and water quality degradation.
In 2022, the City of Williamsport, PA Water Authority established a program to address the costs of maintaining the City’s stormwater system and meet federal requirements such as the Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan. The cost was passed along to Williamsport residents and businesses and is based on the amount of impervious area, including pavement and building footprints. Because of the Williamsport Plant's size, a significant annual fee was assessed to the company.
However, the program included a policy that allowed companies to reduce the annual fee based on existing or new stormwater management practices. In response, our staff identified several best management practices that were already in place, and they made enhancements to three others, yielding impressive results.
Stormwater Drain Filters
Filters were added to stormwater drains. The fabric filters collect sediment from rain or melting snow as it enters the site's stormwater collection system.
The facility uses man-made, environmentally friendly products to control the dust created by driving on stone surfaces. These products greatly lower the amount of dust created, thus reducing the volume of sediment collected by the flow of stormwater.
Waterway Vegetation Maintenance
The facility’s stormwater flows to a small waterway on the south side of the plant. To further reduce the number of pollutants that would otherwise enter larger streams and rivers, we improved our maintenance of the vegetation in this waterway, which acts as a natural filter.
Together, these enhanced stormwater management practices resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of the stormwater discharge and a 50% reduction of the annual fee charged to High Steel by the city of Williamsport. The site continues to monitor stormwater quality every six months.
Having the proper stormwater management tools in place is a win for both the environment and High Steel, and demonstrates our commitment to environmental stewardship.