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North Wayne Park Detention Basic Proposal


Since at least 2014, Radnor Township has been proposing to construction a new detention basin in North Wayne Park, Radnor Township, PA as a solution to downstream flooding.  While there exists a small basin on a portion of the property, disrepair has prevented it from functioning as needed.  In response, rather than propose repairing the basin and addressing the root cause of flooding in North Wayne (i.e. inappropriate stormwater management and development in the township), the Commissioners have been considering a variety of proposals that would utilize almost the entire N. Wayne field/park for a new, bigger detention system.  The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has been challenging this proposal, seeking preservation of the park as open space and instead urging the township to seek solutions that will reduce the volume of stormwater which is the root cause of the flooding problem.  

At a September 11, 2017 Commissioners meeting a resolution was advanced that focused on repairing the current detention system and committing funds to seek other solutions to address the volume of water that is the source of the flooding problems for the north wayne community.  This is a dramatic change of direction for the Township and a huge step towards a meaningful solution that both preserves the park and will address flooding problems in North Wayne.

Through this work, we have also gotten the township to reflect more fully on its stormwater ordinance and to finally see the connection between a strong ordinance, compliance with the law and a better way forward for addressing both flooding and pollution in the township. There is still work to be done but we are definitely achieving progress.

It has been several years now and the project has not progressed, we are presuming success, at least for now.

Basic Facts and History on the N. Wayne Expanded Basin Proposal:

According public statements and documents, construction of a new detention system that spanned the Park would provide only “incremental” improvements/benefits for flooding and water quality protection.; it is unclear what is meant by “incremental improvement”. The level of reduction in actual flood damages, and the kind of damages that would be reduced, including to what degree, has not been provided. The project proposed would have required at least “partial waivers from infiltration, water quality and stream bank erosion permit requirements.” The proposal included providing fencing around portions of the park and would necessitate movement of park play and field amenities.

The North Wayne Park is part of the Gulph Creek watershed. Gulph Creek is a tributary to the Schuylkill River which is a tributary to the Delaware River.  At Poplar Avenue, the drainage area to the North Wayne Park is approximately 8% of the Gulph Creek Watershed. Only water from that area would be controlled by the proposed expanded detention system. (Total drainage area to North Wayne Park is approximately 600 acres. The area that drains to the park is 46.58 acres.) The design engineer for the expanded detention basin proposal stated that the proposal should be considered only an “incremental improvement” for flooding issues. (3/28/14 Project Summary & 5/6/2014 powerpoint).

The North Wayne Park is owned by the Radnor Township School District.  The School District never agreed to the expanded basin proposal.  The park is heavily used by the school district and surrounding community for sports and recreation.  The North Wayne Park is open for public use and is enjoyed by residents and organized sports throughout the year.  The School District Facilities Committee was only approached about the proposed project  after the Township invested significant resources in developing the original project plans. 

There currently exists a detention system at the North Wayne Park.  The system is in need of repair.

The 5 solutions originally considered by the Township’s engineer, CVE,  were all focused on a detention system at the North Wayne Field and according to a 5/6/2014 power point “Due to space limitation none of the options can meet current water quality regulations and will require partial waivers from infiltration, water quality and stream bank erosion permit requirements.” 

Projects at the AT&T site, at an auxiliary parking area, a series of mini systems distributed, bioretention at the southerly parking lot, potential work at the church of the savior were given some level of consideration but are not part of the proposed solution. 

A more comprehensive solution including stream restoration, proposed wetlands, structural buyouts was noted on a 5/6/2014 powerpoint with no information on incremental costs and benefits for partial implementation to take place over time, only a total cost of $58 mil suggested.