City unveils plan to prevent flooding

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Key Elements of MS4 Program Improvement
  • Key Elements of MS4 Program Improvement
Facing possible sanctions from the Environmental Protection Agency, the city has compiled a draft Stormwater Program Improvement Plan that's "designed to dramatically improve the city’s infrastructure and meet federal requirements," the city said in a release.

"Today the City of Colorado Springs has released a draft Stormwater Improvement Plan. This is significant for our stormwater program, our citizens, and our City. The draft Stormwater Program Improvement Plan reflects strong leadership by the Mayor and City Council. We began this effort last fall and we reached a preliminary draft in January. Today’s release includes updates through July 2016," City Public Works Director Travis Easton said in a statement.

The city encourages the public to comment on the plan in the next 60 days. To do so contact Richard Mulledy, the City’s Stormwater Division Manager at rmulledy@springsgov.com or by mail to: Richard Mulledy, Stormwater Division Manager, City of Colorado Springs, 30 S. Nevada Avenue, Suite 401, Colorado Springs, CO 80901.

The plan also is designed to guide the city's and Colorado Springs Utilities' spending of $460 million over 20 years starting this year to improve the city's drainage system.

Blaming much of the problem on the citizens' call to defund the Stormwater Enterprise in 2009, Mayor John Suthers said the task of controlling flooding isn't an option. "It is something that we must do to protect our waterways, serve our downstream neighbors, and meet the legal requirements of a federal permit.”

The MS4 program, the federal permit for discharge of stormwater into waterways, is addressed starting on Page 13 of the report:
The City’s review found opportunities to improve the components of its MS4 Program by enhancing training, tightening enforcement, improving documentation, expanding maintenance, and addressing other specific program needs. Based on its review, the City will implement the following key improvements to its MS4 Program (see Figure 4-1):
• A Stormwater Management Plan will be prepared to describe the strategies, activities, BMPs, and resources used to address the MS4 permit requirements.
• Inspections of construction sites, industrial sites, municipal operations facilities, public BMPs, and waterways will be more rigorous and performed by dedicated stormwater inspectors who will receive frequent training.
• Enforcement actions will be more vigorously pursued as appropriate, and supported by the City Attorney’s Office and City leaders.
• Documentation and record-keeping will be improved.
• Stormwater Division staff will train City and CSU field personnel to observe and report potential illicit discharges.
• Maintenance issues in the City’s waterways will be identified and prioritized annually.
• Development reviews for permanent water quality BMPs will be more rigorous and final approvals will not be granted without an executed maintenance agreement.
• Development review staff will be provided with needed training to ensure compliance with City standards and criteria.
• Methods for citizens to report potential illicit discharges will be improved.
• Public education and outreach activities will be expanded and focus on improving the public’s support for the overall stormwater management program.

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