City officials will soon have to take greater strides in planning stormwater regulations as the date to develop a new program nears.

Jonathan Zimmermann, city engineer, said the city must develop stormwater regulations under a mandate by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now that Union has become a MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) city by reaching the benchmark of 10,000 residents.

“This program could touch every aspect of local government from the ground up,” Zimmermann said.

He told the city’s personnel, finance and public works committee Monday that officials may not be informed of what new requirements will be mandated until after the Nov. 5 election, but the city must draft a permit application to be submitted for approval by Dec. 12 to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“There will be requirements we have to meet but that is not really spelled out,” he said.

Some department heads, including City Administrator Russell Rost, Zimmermann and Public Works Director Harold Lampkin, have been attending DNR MS4 meetings throughout the state.

Those meetings include changes that are likely to occur, including how the city can permit new developments.

“DNR really seemed unsure of what the permitting requirements may be,” said Rost.

The program is an effort to reduce the impact and effects from stormwater discharges. The intent of the program is to prevent various chemicals and other pollutants from entering streams and rivers.

Union falls under Phase II of the MS4, which is focused on communities with populations of more than 10,000.

Under the program, regulated communities are required to develop, implement and enforce a stormwater management program designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants through the community’s storm sewer system.

The city will be audited after five years to ensure requirements are met.

Aldermen will most likely have to amend ordinances to comply with the new standards.

Rost added that it is likely that the city will develop a stormwater management team to address the mandates.

MS4 Program

There are six “minimum” control measures required under the plan:

• Public education and outreach;

• Public participation/involvement;

• Illicit discharge detection and elimination;

• Construction site runoff control;

• Post-construction runoff control; and

• Pollution prevention/good housekeeping.

An overview of the mandated program states that concentrated development in urbanized areas substantially increases impervious surfaces such as city streets, driveways, parking lots and sidewalks, on which pollutants settle and remain until a storm event washes them into nearby storm drains.

Common pollutants include pesticides, fertilizers, oils, salt, litter and other debris and sediment. When left uncontrolled, these discharges can result in fish kills, the destruction of spawning and wildlife habitats, a loss of aesthetic value and the contamination of drinking water supplies and recreation waterways which can threaten public health.

Other Requirements

The MS4 regulations are not the only new requirements now that the city has topped 10,000 residents.

There also are changes in how water consumer information is dispersed.

Prior to reaching 10,000 residents, it was sufficient to publish the consumer confidence report, or drinking water quality report, in a legal newspaper, as well as publicly post the report.

Now the city is required to mail the report to about 4,500 residential and commercial water users.

That creates additional printing and mailing costs for the city.