Ordinance would clear up stormwaterThe city of Rosemount has to have a program that identifies and eliminates non-stormwater discharges from entering into the stormwater system. So the council on Tuesday held the first reading of an ordinance that will meet the requirement.
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
The city of Rosemount has to have a program that identifies and eliminates non-stormwater discharges from entering into the stormwater system. So the council on Tuesday held the first reading of an ordinance that will meet the requirement.
The ordinance will be part of the city’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The city operates the city’s stormwater system under rules of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. To keep its storm water permit the city has to submit a plan annually that show the city’s efforts to keep pollutants out of the water.
This ordinance is required to keep the city’s permit and will help give teeth to the plan, which includes educational efforts the city has developed to combat pollution. The ordinance is modeled after one developed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The ordinance, engineer Andy Brotzler said, defines what an illicit discharge is and how the city can punish those who put those substances into the stormwater system. An illicit discharge is any that substance doesn’t consist of storm water — motor oil, antifreeze, grass clippings and more. The ordinance identifies some exceptions including hydrant flushing, lawn watering, non-commercial car washing and draining swimming pools.
Enforcement will include a notice of violation process, an appeal process, cost of abatement, compensatory action and criminal prosecution in extreme cases.
The topic isn’t glamorous, but is important because it protects area wetlands, lakes and rivers. When substances like oil and antifreeze go into the stormwater system can affect aquatic animals, plant life and human health.
Although the city hasn’t had many issues with people dumping inappropriate materials into the stormwater system, it doesn’t have anything on the books that clearly defines the act of illicit discharge or how the city can penalize for it.
“Our ability to deal with (discharge) has been limited,” said Brotzler when asked what the city has done up until now.
The council will hear a second reading and consider approving the ordinance at its May 19 meeting. Before then council member Jeff Weisensel wanted city staff to bring back specifics about who would determine what an illicit discharge is. Additionally he wanted to know whether the ordinance just included the pipe system or if it would include natural waterways such as lakes and rivers and who would monitor it.
“I don’t want the state looking over our shoulder telling us we have to enforce something we didn’t realize.... I suspect they may be pushing it down on us,” said Weisensel.