Systemic Stormwater Non-Compliance
In 2007, Worthington, Minnesota, was designated an MS4 permittee, but eight years later, there are still widespread problems. According to the city’s Stormwater Polution Protection Plan (SWPPP) inspector Dan Livdahl, there hasn’t been a single site that’s gotten through the summer without a problem. “I’ve told people they have to get into compliance, and there have been no consequences,” he said.
Cathy Rofshus, public information officer for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says that SWPPPs are still relatively new to the state. “Contractors just aren’t aware of what they need to be doing,” she said. But while education is still an issue, it’s just one way of achieving the goal of stormwater awareness, and Rofshus added that fining non-compliant contractors can even out their economic advantage.
Back in Worthington, city engineer Dwayne Haffield said that fines are “the last thing that would ever happen,” from the city’s perspective. “Our main objective is just to get people to understand that how something is being constructed is just as important as what’s being constructed,” he said. Still, contractors should be warned. “We’re more aggressive now than we were last year, and I think that will continue,” said Haffield.