Sept. 19, 2011 04:42

Stormwater News

Department of Transportation Pays Fine

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has agreed to pay a $381,000 fine for failure to take proper precautions in constructing the I-680 toll lanes between Pleasanton and Milpitas, which resulted in polluted stormwater runoff.

The Bay Area Regional Water Control Board in San Francisco, California, imposed the penalty after regional board inspectors found several violations on the construction site. They claimed that Caltrans should have taken steps to ensure that polluted stormwater didn’t reach the bay during construction, including making sure that the contractor was covering up the soil and using straw to filter runoff from the site.

The water board originally proposed a $630,000 penalty, but accepted the smaller amount after Caltrans agreed not to contest the fine.

In addition to state fines, the EPA ordered Caltrans to upgrade its statewide stormwater controls for runoff from construction sites and maintenance yards.

Based on an assessment of 25 construction sites, Caltrans failed to require its contractors to implement adequate structural and nonstructural best management practices, the EPA wrote in its audit.

Water Samples Reveal High Levels of E. Coli

The Missouri Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Health and Senior Services have detected E. coli levels in excess of federal guidelines in stormwater samples collected from coves near

the Lake of the Ozarks. Three of the four samples exceeded the EPA’s recommended maximum level for swimming areas of 235 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water. Sample results ranged from 99.0 to 866.4 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water.

Inspectors from the Department of Natural Resource’s southwest regional office plan to collect additional water quality samples and complete an inspection of the area to determine if there are observable discharges into the coves’ watershed that may be contributing to water quality issues.

A total of nine coves are tested weekly as part of the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance water quality monitoring project. Sample results collected from the remaining eight coves detected E. coli levels below federal guidelines.

Commercial Property Owners Receive Stormwater Credits

T h e C i t y o f W i l m i n g t o n , Delaware, is offering commercial property owners up to a 70% reduction in the stormwater portion of their water and sewer bills if they voluntarily construct, operate, and maintain stormwater control systems on their parcels.

In 2007, Wilmington added a stormwater charge to the water and sewer fees assessed to all properties. The fees were necessary to help the city recover the costs associated with managing water runoff during storm events.

Wilmington has now implemented a Stormwater Credits Program to show its appreciation to non-residential parcel owners who are willing to assist the city in its efforts to protect its waterways.

Grant Awarded for Stormwater Filter System

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials have awarded a $202,224 green infrastructure grant to the Village of Niles to build a stormwater infiltration system to clean snow that has been plowed and deposited at another location.

The new system will filter grease, metals, oils, rubber and other pollutants picked up from the road out of melting snow and stormwater before it flows back into local rivers or underground sources of drinking water.

The project is expected to take six to eight months to complete.

Town Officials Discuss Suing EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency recently designated the Massachusetts communities of Milford, Franklin and Bellingham as pilot communities for enhanced stormwater regulations that look to reduce phosphorous in the Charles River by regulating runoff.

But according to Milford’s town engineer, an EPA-funded study for the three towns shows that complying with the new regulations could cost anywhere from $66 million to $111 million. As a result, town officials in Milford, Massachusetts, are considering taking legal action against the EPA if the enhanced stormwater regulations are implemented.

“There’s no way a community can absorb this type of money without any aid,” a Milford Selectman said. “It would be catastrophic if this thing ever goes through.”

Also in Stormwater News

In many ways, we are fortunate that, in our chosen profession, we are able to help people when certain disasters occur: the tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia, the flooding in Louisiana, the snows in the northeastern part of the country, the rain in California, and the snow in Colorado....

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