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The Planning and Zoning commission for the city of Palmhurst met over a phone conference to review the stormwater department’s MS4 Permit regarding minimum control measures for the Stormwater Department.
City Planner Lupe Garcia presented the sections under review to the commission during a meeting held Tues. Sept. 15, 2020. He said the measures were new to the city.
Minimum control measures are abbreviated to MCM in the slides presented by Garcia.
“The list of MCMs continues to include public education, outreach and involvement, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction stormwater runoff, post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment, pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations,” Garcia said.
The Public Education, Outreach and Involvement section is to educate public employees, businesses and the general public about hazards associated with illegal discharge and the improper disposal of waste, as well as the impact stormwater can have on water quality.
“In 2019 and 2018 we’ve done several [instances of] community outreach here at the Church of Christ, when we’ve had our National Night Out,” Garcia said. “In the past we’ve also mailed out brochures, with information posted on our website.”
The Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination section defines illicit discharge as any discharge of polluting, or non-stormwater materials allowed to enter the stormwater drainage system, from overland flows and direct dumping of materials, according to Garcia. Chemicals like oils, gasoline and paint are illicit materials that should not be discharged into the drainage system – it is not allowed in Palmhurst.
Garcia mentioned an instance where a resident was dumping mud into an inlet on 3 Mile Rd., and after being given a verbal warning they stopped.
The Construction Stormwater Runoff Control section is to regulate and reduce pollution that enters the surface water in the state of Texas from discharging into municipal stormwater sewer systems. Garcia said they detect the possible pollution and require erosion control at construction sites, and will establish penalties for those who do not follow those requirements.
The Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New Developments and Redevelopments section is a program that will be developed to implement and enforce to control stormwater discharge in private and public development and redevelopment sites. Areas must be designed to accommodate those plans.
“Any time there’s a new development, the designer needs to keep in mind that if there was already a design in place, they need to accommodate or rework the design to keep the [stormwater] swells in mind,” Garcia said.
The Pollution Prevention/Good housekeeping for Municipal Operations is set up to develop and implement a program with the ultimate goal of preventing or reducing illicit runoff from entering the storm drainage system.
“We will train municipal employees on incorporating solutions and directions on good housekeeping practices in municipal operations,” Garcia said. “On any development case, the existing detention areas must be retained or redesigned to accommodate the new site plan.”
Garcia said city employees and staff who maintain city grounds, public roads and streets to look out for illicit discharge and keep a detailed record of when they do so they can report it to the city.
This is the third year the stormwater department in Palmhurst has been developing, along with a consultant, the programs for drainage. They have put in place several ordinances that adhere to the needs of Palmhurst.
“The reason for all of this is, the city of Palmhurst has an MS4 Permit in place at all times,” Garcia said. “Our Stormwater Management Program is good for five years, but every year we have to renew our permit.”
Garcia said they have to ensure they are enforcing the requirements for stormwater drainage development, and keep it user-friendly for those who need to abide by them. Any developer working with an acre of land or more, in commercial districts (and eventually residential) is required to abide by the plans in order to receive a permit.
“Stormwater just means any rain that comes down, of course, from the sky,” Garcia said. “We need to make sure it doesn’t get contaminated when it goes into our inlets.”
The commission didn’t have any questions for Garcia, and agreed to meet again for other workshops twice a year to discuss moving forward.