According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the primary cause of water quality problems in the U.S. today is not from factories or waste water treatment plants, but rather something called “nonpoint source pollution.” Nonpoint source pollution is runoff from rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation that picks up soil and contaminants as it runs over land or under ground, eventually depositing them into surface water or introducing them into ground water. Healthy lakes, rivers, and streams directly impact property values and the quality of life we enjoy. Each of us has a responsibility to be a part of Daviess County’s pollution solution by controlling what we purposefully or inadvertently put down our storm drains or ditches and creeks.
The City of Owensboro and Daviess County both face unique challenges with respect to stormwater management. Inside the City limits, there is very little relief in the ditches. This means that the City is so flat, the water does not run off very fast. It takes larger pipes and ditches to carry the same amount of water as it would take in Cities with steeper systems.
Also, the City of Owensboro is one of 17 cities in Kentucky that has what is called a Combined Sewer System, or CSS. This is a system where the sanitary sewage and the storm water are combined in one pipe. When there is flooding in the streets in these areas, there is raw sewage combined with the storm water. Also, a large portion of the undeveloped land in Daviess County is in the floodplain, which introduces numerous concerns about the quality of water. All of these issues are being addressed with the Phase II efforts.
The Phase II permit is designed to improve water quality from our MS4. This permit requires the City of Owensboro and Daviess County to address 6 minimum control measures:
MCM 1 – Public Education & Outreach
Minimum Control Measure (MCM) 1 is Public Education and Outreach. This requirement is to inform and educate citizens of Daviess County on the impacts that stormwater discharges can cause to bodies of water. It also helps the public understand what pollutants are and how to reduce and prevent them in stormwater runoff. This includes distributing educational materials and performing outreach to inform citizens about the impacts polluted stormwater runoff discharges can have on water quality.
The City of Owensboro, Daviess County along with Owensboro’s Stormwater Quality Advisory Committee (SWQAC) participates in events throughout the city. In the past we have participated in Earth Day events, and various neighborhood alliance clean up events. We also distribute educational materials. If you would like any education materials or presentations please contact Mark Brasher at 270-685-8456 for additional information.
MCM 2 – Public Involvement / Participation
Minimum Control Measure (MCM) 2 is Public Involvement / Participation. This requirement provides opportunities for citizens to participate in program development and implementation, including input from the public through public meetings, activites, cleanups, and mointoring events.
The City of Owensboro along with Daviess County and GRADD hosts 4 Stormwater Quality Advisory Committee (SWQAC) meetings a year. The city also hosts various Neighborhood Alliance clean up events. Typically once a year a storm drain marking event is also hosted. If you would like to participate or host any cleanup or storm marking events please contact the City of Owensboro or Daviess County Engineering Department.
MCM 3 – Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)
Development and implementation of a plan to detect and eliminate illicit discharges to the storm sewer system (includes developing a system map and informing the community about hazards associated with illegal discharges and improper disposal of waste). Illicit Discharges include, but are not limited to, leaves, grass, sediment, illicit connections, spills, and dumping of pollutants.
Daviess County has an ordinance which states:
Section 4—Illicit discharge detection and elimination
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to do, or permit, authorize, allow or direct another person to do, or fail to do when required, any of the following:
(1) Deposit any concrete, steel, pollutants, building materials, or yard waste of any kind in the guttered curb of any street or alley located within public right-of-way that drains into the MS4 or CSS.
(2) Deposit any solid waste, debris, yard waste, pollutants, waste water (sewage), concrete, building materials, tires, appliances, animal carcasses, or any other substance, material or obstruction of any kind in an open ditch, sewer, or stormwater inlet and catch basin, manhole, that is maintained by Daviess County.
(3) Connect to the public storm sewer system with any illicit connection.
Complaints or concerns can be addressed through the Daviess County Engineering office at 270-685-8456. You do not have to leave your name, just be ready to give a location of the IDDE. Once a complaint is taken, the engineering staff will inspect the location and send a letter to all involved explaining what action must be taken to avoid penalties. A database and map is kept of all IDDE for future reference.
If you know of an illicit discharge please call the Daviess County Engineering office at 270-685-8456.
MCM 4 – Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
It is the developing, implementing, and enforcing of an erosion and sediment control program for construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land. Such control measures include, but are not limited to:
- Rock Runouts
- Dust Control
- Silt Fences
- Inlet Barriers
- Sediment Traps / Basins
- De-watering Devices
- Concrete Waste Management
- Employee Training
Daviess County has an Ordinance in place, along with the KY Division of Water requirements that all developers of lots that disturb 1 acre or more, or are part of a larger development plan submit an Notice of Intent (NOI) to the KY Division of Water. They must also submit a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) which is reviewed by the County Engineering Department and the KY Division of Water. Once construction begins, the Engineering Department inspects each site once a month for compliance. If anything is in noncompliance, penalties follow.
MCM 5 – Post-Construction Stormwater Management
Developing, implementing, and enforcing a program to address discharges of post-construction storm water run off from new development and redevelopment areas. Applicable controls could include preventative actions such as protecting sensitive areas (e.g., wetlands) or the use of structural BMPs such as grassed swales porous pavement or water quality devices.
MCM 6 – Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
Developing and implementing a program with the goal of preventing or reducing pollutants in runoff from municipal operations. The program must include municipal staff training on pollution prevention measures and techniques (e.g., regular street sweeping, efficient usage of pesticides and street salt or frequent catch basin cleaning).
Daviess County trains all Public Works staff annually on the importance of good housekeeping especially on job sites. Engineering staff, and some of our crew leaders also take part in stormwater training offered by the KY Technology Transfer Program. Benefical classes include KY Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control, and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Preparers.