The city of Washington soon will have an aggressive plan to remedy deficiencies in its stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) plan.
Dan Boyce, city engineer, explained to the city council that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has been tasked with enforcing the federally mandated program.
After submitting a permit application, MDNR indicated that the city does not address the goal that requires the city to “mimic pre-development conditions to the maximum extent practical per MDNR requirements,” a measurable goal under one of six minimum control measures.
The end result of the program is to have clean stormwater discharges, Boyce said, no matter where it feeds.
“After a site is developed, what they would prefer is there is no change with any stormwater, either in volume, velocity or quality,” Boyce said, adding that the industry standard is that 90 percent of stormwater is “captured and treated” or absorbed into the ground.
MDNR has adopted that standard.
The control measures, each with several goals, include public education and outreach, public participation/involvement, illicit discharge and detention, construction site stormwater runoff control, post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment, and pollution prevention/good housekeeping or municipal operations.
Boyce said the city tried to meet the goals of the program by taking credit for existing programs in place.
“We didn’t do this because the federal government told us to. We’ve done it over the years because we think it’s the right thing to do,” Boyce said.
A MDNR representative told Boyce that by law, measures must be incorporated into the design to meet the standard.
The ideal development would have narrower streets, no curb and gutter, no single point discharges, and would have bio-swales and rain gardens to absorb the water.
Boyce said that raingardens would require an easement, maintenance and inspections and didn’t seem practical.
Boyce revised the permit application and sent it back with a three-year plan in which the end result would be presenting an ordinance to the city council for consideration. However, the MDNR representative said three years is too long to create the ordinance.
“In all fairness, she said this should have been done already. She couldn’t approve a three-year plan,” Boyce said. “She wants an aggressive plan.”
The law is for new development and redevelopment as it occurs and does not require modifications on areas already developed, Boyce noted.
Jim Briggs, city administrator, said meeting the standard “will be a challenge.”
Boyce spoke with O’Fallon city representatives about its ordinance.
He also will meet with local developers and consultants for input on how to meet the standard.
The city of Union, which also must meet the standard, and other local cities will be invited to a meeting with city leaders and an MDNR representative.