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New laws aim at storm water runoff

Town of Tonawanda homeowners aren't directly affected by several new local laws regarding storm water, but officials hope information on the subject will trickle down nonetheless.

By early next year, municipalities that meet a certain population threshold are required to implement storm water management programs that comply with state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations.

Storm water is the water from rain and melting snow that runs off into waterways instead of soaking into the ground. As it flows, it collects and transports potential pollutants, including animal wastes, and oil and grease.

Most of the five amendments to the Town Code adopted Monday night apply to developers and the town government itself. For instance, all drainage systems in town-owned buildings must be inspected for compliance.

"At this point, I don't think it's going to affect the average homeowner," Michael J. Kaiser, a senior engineer for the town, said at the board's afternoon work session. Kaiser is the town's representative on the Western New York Stormwater Coalition.

The town's Web site, www.tonawanda.ny.us, provides a link to the coalition, which offers tips for homeowners to prevent storm water pollution.

A sixth Town Code amendment adopted Monday night applies to the collection of wastes generated by households.

The use of clear or translucent plastic bags will be allowed for getting rid of construction and demolition debris, and yard wastes. Previously, those items were to be tossed in the 95-gallon garbage totes distributed by the town last year.

At a public hearing on the issue, Michael Melber of Glencove Road contended that black, contractor-grade trash bags are stronger.

But Bradley A. Rowles, the town's superintendent of highways, said research of local stores has turned up clear contractor-grade bags. Instead of directing business to a particular vendor for the clear bags, Rowles suggested that residents call the highway department for the names of stores.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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