With coverage assured by the insurance company, Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District is going ahead with "Dive Day."
Dive teams from the Pike, Wayne and Monroe County area will be welcome to participate in the event, Saturday September 14, picking up litter from the lake bed. Nick Spinelli, District Administrator, said that the idea is to make a fun contest out of it with prizes for such categories as the most unusual item brought up or the most.
At the same time, the event helps promote the environmental mission of the Watershed District, raises awareness of problem with lake litter and gives dive teams another chance for practice and working together.
He told the District Board, July 22, that he hopes to get sponsorships for the event. There had been a question if the insurance carrier would cover it, but Spinelli received word that it will. Only divers that are members of local fire company dive teams will be allowed to participate, rather than the general public.
--- Ride for the Lake
• Businesses are being canvassed to ask for sponsorships of the second annual Ride for the Lake, set Saturday, August 24 as part of the Wally Lake Fest. The Watershed District hosts the motorcycle event, which takes participants completely around Lake Wallenpaupack. They begin and end at Wallenpaupack Area High School parking lot.
Spinelli said that between $1800 and $1900 has been raised so far. Volunteers will help at the registration table the day of the event. Bikers will receive a voucher for the food concession stands at Wally Lake Fest.
District Board Member Brian Schan, who originated the event in 2012, said he would love to see the event doubled. Last year the Ride generated $4600 to $4700 after expenses, to aid the Watershed District in their mission for a clean lake and tributaries.
--- Power line questions
• Letters were received from four part-time residents who are concerned about the PPL Northeast/Pocono Reliability Project. The power line upgrade is cutting into land off Hoadleys Road in Paupack Township, which surprised residents not aware of the project.
Spinelli noted that the project has been discussed for the past three years, with public meetings and open houses hosted by PPL presenting alternate routes. The letter writers hoped the Watershed District would intercede about feared environmental harm to Lake Wallenpaupack.
"This ship has already left the dock," said Tom Oakley, Paupack Township Supervisor and members of the Watershed District Board. He said he has been fielding complaints about the work almost daily.
Spinelli noted that the project is well underway. Plans were approved through the Wayne County Conservation District to protect the watershed. Spinelli said he would let the writers know that the District is not a regulatory agency but the District is in touch with agencies that do regulate. If any perceived violations occurred, the complaints will be forwarded to the appropriate agency.
Page 2 of 2 - Oakley cautioned that the public should "not cry wolf on every little thing" to the PA Department of Environmental Protection.
Contacted after the meeting, Paul Wirth, PPL spokesperson, explained that clear cutting was done for a new substation and connecting power lines in the Hoadleys Road area of Paupack Township. The site is 2.1 miles north of Route 590. He said that the necessary permits for earth disturbance, erosion and sedimentation are in place.
He said there were 13 public informational open houses held in preparation for the project. PPL's application was broken into three segments when sent to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval. PUC already gave approval for the work underway in Paupack Township. Another segment approved for construction is a rebuilding of a 20 mile length of transmission line between Peckville and Varden.
Still pending approval from the PUC is the major segment involving 57 miles of new 230 kv lines and two substations. The Route extends throgh southern Wayne County into Monroe County and ends in Luzerne County north of Wilkes-Barre. Wirth said that the PUC is currently reviewing the application and testimony, and is anticipated to issue a decision by the end of 2013. The PUC began legal hearings in Harrisburg on this segment this past week.
PPL has information on the project online at nep.pplreliablepower.com.
• The District's Better Management Project (BMP) Committee will look at the status of the Bakker Marine storm runoff ponds, where erosion was reported after the heavy rain on June 30th.
• Revisions to the web site are still being made.
The Watershed District may be contacted at (570)226-3865. Their web site is www.wallenpaupackwatershed.org.