Dec 06, 2007

Storm Water Runoff to Be Required of Smaller Town

Within 10 years, Salem, Ohio will face an EPA mandate to control storm water runoff

Within the next 10 years, the city of Salem, Ohio will be up against another Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandate to control storm water runoff. The concern is that the unfunded mandate will be a major financial burden on the city, as acknowledged by service director Joe Julian.

The current plan, which, according to Julian, has “gotten the city to this point” will not be enough for future regulations. The upcoming mandate will require cities of fewer than 50,000 employees to manage runoff, especially at convergent points where storm water drains into creeks. Notably, cities of more than 50,000 people have already been following these regulations.

In Salem, there are six such places of concern.

For his part, Julian worked with civil engineering firm Howells & Baird to develop a three-phase plan: drainage and design control, post-construction water quality requirements and a storm water pollution prevention plan for earth-disturbing construction activities. He also recognizes that he needs to work with the housing, planning and zoning office to create an ordinance to implement the various phases.

Part of the plan is to build high-maintenance separators that can trap debris and keep it from running into creeks.

This type of blockage is required by the EPA. The agency said, “Illicit discharge detection and elimination programs are designed to prevent contamination of ground and surface water supplies by monitoring, inspection and removal of these illegal non-stormwater discharges.”

“An essential element of these programs is an ordinance granting the authority to inspect properties suspected of releasing contaminated discharges into storm drain systems. Another important factor is the establishment of enforcement actions for those properties found to be in noncompliance or that refuse to allow access to their facilities.”