Community Responses to Runoff Pollution
Top of Report
STRATEGIES IN THE MIDWEST
Promoting Public Education and Participation
Minneapolis, MN | Grand Valley State University and Cannon Township, MI | Additional Examples
Detecting and Eliminating Improper or Illegal Connections and Discharges
Washtenaw County, MI | Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewerage District, KY | Additional Examples
Addressing Stormwater in New Development and Redevelopment
A Natural Setting at "Prairie Crossing"
The Prairie Crossing project is designed around a stormwater treatment train and linked landscape elements that all contribute to cleaning runoff and reducing the rate and volume of runoff. Restored prairies and wetlands, lakes, and miles of trails and working farm provide a soothing and attractive environment for the residents of the Prairie Crossing development, located approximately 40 miles northwest of Chicago. Some 150 years of farming on the 667-acre site had eliminated the natural ecosystems that had once characterized the area.
Because of a commitment to natural resources protection, at Prairie Crossing the owner and design team, including ecologist Steven Apfelbaum and site designer William Johnson, used the "conservation design" approach, clustering 317 residences on 132 acres of the site, and leaving the remaining 80 percent of the site as open space or agricultural lands. Concentrating the homes not only reduced imperviousness by shortening the length of roads and sidewalks, but saved the developer -- and ultimately the home buyers -- money through reduced road construction costs.
The runoff that the rooftops and roadways of the residential areas create do not drop into underground storm sewers, but drain through swales planted with native vegetation. After leaving the swales, the stormwater moves in flat sheets across reconstructed prairies in common areas behind homes. From the prairies, the water flows into wetlands, which border a newly built 22-acre lake in the center of the residential sector. This swale-prairie-wetland conveyance system took the place of traditional concrete subsurface storm sewers and allowed narrower roads. It also eliminated curb and gutters. These differences provided an initial capital cost savings for the developer of $1.6 to $2.7 million.
In addition to serving as an effective conveyance system, this model provides additional stormwater services that storm sewers do not: biofiltration and infiltration. A multiyear monitoring program is currently under way, but modeling indicates that the system will remove approximately 85 percent of nutrients, metals, and suspended solids. The reduction in impervious cover and infiltration from the stormwater management system is expected to mimic a natural water flow pattern much more closely than a typical development of the same gross density by producing 68 percent lower peak flows, and a 30 to 60 percent reduction in annual runoff volumes.
Even before the stormwater enters the conveyance/treatment system, however, it is cleaner than typical runoff. The development employs an environmental coordinator to manage and inform homeowners of opportunities to use a variety of pollution-prevention native landscaping practices on the common areas. No fertilizers are used on the restored prairie and wetlands. Herbicide use is limited to spot application only when and where necessary. This regime also reduces the homeowner association's expenditures for maintaining the common areas.
The coordinator also helps residents care for their private lots in an environmentally sensitive way. Covenants running with the land require homeowners to use a number of stormwater-sensitive practices. Residential landscaping must rely heavily on native wildflower plantings and other low-maintenance vegetation. Homeowners may only use organic and slow-release fertilizers on their lawns, and they may only apply these fertilizers twice per year, at times when they will be immediately assimilated by the turf and not carried off by the rain. Yard and garden waste goes to a composting facility.
These measures make an important contribution to preserving the health of the local ecosystem. Water from Prairie Crossing flows downstream into the adjacent Liberty Prairie Reserve, a 2,500-acre area containing six state nature preserves. The water then flows into the Des Plaines River at the edge of the reserve. The Prairie Crossing development provides a cleaner and more predictable source of water for the plants and animals in the reserve and the river than either prior agricultural use or a conventionally designed development.
Miles of trails through the restored natural areas and farmland on the site give residents opportunities for exercise, relaxation, and wildlife observation. The natural amenities and cost savings have made residents strong supporters of the water-quality practices and more environmentally conscious; many have joined the Liberty Prairie Conservancy, a volunteer group that preserves and restores areas in the adjacent Liberty Prairie Reserve.
The stormwater system received strong support form the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, which has adopted an ordinance that promotes systems of similar design. Prairie Crossing has also been regionally and nationally recognized for its conservation design. This and the associated field tours have increased support from local officials and citizens. The project overcame skepticism by the Village of Grayslake permitting authority after considerable effort on the part of the developer.
The alternative development approach used here -- smaller lots, less roads, and natural drainage -- has not hurt the developer. As of fall 1998, home sales are on schedule to meet a performance that is comparable to or better than conventional developments.
Contact: Steven Apfelbaum, President, Applied Ecological Services, Inc., Brodhead, WI, 608-897-8641, email: email@example.com.
Constructing the "Prairie Waterway"
Farmington, Minnesota, has combined growth with attention to runoff problems. The city and its 6,600 residents are located approximately 20 miles southeast of Minneapolis; two branches of the Vermillion River run through it. The city has preserved its small-town feel by retaining its compact, pedestrian-oriented center, large, street-side shade trees, and much of its historic commercial and residential architecture.
Because of its location at the outer edge of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, it has been facing typical development pressures. One particular dilemma in the early 1990s resulted in the Prairie Waterway. Development in the 1950s and 1960s had filled wetlands and interrupted natural drainage patterns in an area just to the east of the city's downtown. Consequently, nearby homes, streets, and sewer lines flooded during storms. Then, in the early 1990s, the Sienna Corporation proposed a 200-acre residential subdivision with approximately 500 units. At full build-out, the subdivision would house an estimated 13 to 15 percent of the city's population. Faced with this proposal, the city wanted to ensure that this degree of growth did not adversely affect the city's character or worsen drainage problems.
The city's multiple stakeholder Planning Study Committee working with the Design Center for American Urban Landscape, a part of the University of Minnesota, provided the solution to the city's concerns. Farmington had originally proposed standard subsurface drainage to resolve existing drainage, as well as increased stormwater volumes created by the new development, but the city council rejected this approach as too expensive. The committee and the center proposed the Prairie Waterway instead, which the city eventually selected and built.
The Prairie Waterway, a two-mile constructed stream that drains to the Vermillion River, solves a number of problems and provides a number of benefits for the city. Constructed wetlands and ponds lie within and alongside the streambed. Its corridor is preserved as parkland, with trees, meadows, bike paths, trails, and wildlife habitat. Since the waterway was built, there has been no infiltration of water into the basements of nearby homes. However, the Vermillion River receives a net increase in runoff, via the waterway, as a result of the increased development.
By providing drainage and water storage capacity to the area, the waterway allows the city to use land that was previously undevelopable, which is particularly important given its proximity to the existing city street grid. The new neighborhood is within walking distance of the city's old downtown, which has begun to revitalize business activity. The reduction in automobile use -- through walking, biking, and from shorter auto trips -- means fewer contaminants entering the system.
The streets of the new development, called Park Place, help resolve water-quality and water-quantity issues by replicating the grid pattern of the existing city and eliminating cul-de-sacs. Narrow street widths of 28 feet also reduce imperviousness. The compactness of the development, with lots of 6,000 square feet, also reduces imperviousness by keeping the length of streets shorter and simply using less land, leaving more land undeveloped or in agricultural use. Designers also incorporated stormwater retention into each block by creating a depression in the adjoining backyards and common spaces.
The waterway cost approximately $3.5 million. Developers and local officials believe it was a cost-effective solution, especially when considering the long-term benefits versus the cost of a conventional drainage system. Furthermore, the resolution of the existing drainage problems has eliminated inflow and infiltration into the sanitary sewers of the area, a problem that had been costing the residents of Farmington an additional $250,000 per year in additional wastewater treatment costs. While not actually calculated, developers also believe that the clustering of houses and the compact grid-oriented layout of the streets saved money on infrastructure costs.
In a number of ways, the project was not fully implemented. The local highway that separates the new development from the existing city has yet to be rebuilt as a more pedestrian-friendly parkway, making the center city less accessible to pedestrians. Highway runoff remains to be directed to swales and constructed wetlands in the parkway for treatment. There is also some concern over wetland permits for Phase III of the development and a recently approved small industrial park associated with the development.
Initial arrangements for water-quality monitoring fell through, so no documentation is available for any water-quality benefits from the waterway. However, research has shown that buffer zones and wetlands such as those forming part of the waterway greenbelt do provide pollutant reduction benefits. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has monitored macroinvertebrates in two stormwater ponds located at the downstream end of the project. Both sites had fair to good biological indicators or water quality. Residents initially resistant to the new development feel it has surpassed expectations. The Prairie Waterway project earned Farmington a League of Minnesota Cities Achievement Award.
Contact: Diana Balmori, Principal, Balmori Associates, CT, 203-772-4074, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watershed-Based Wet Weather Planning*
Wayne County, Michigan, formally began the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project (Rouge River Project) in 1992 as a comprehensive program to restore the water quality and beneficial uses of the Rouge River, a tributary to the Detroit River that flows through largely urbanized southeast Michigan. Sources of pollution to the river include industrial and municipal point sources, stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows (CSOs), discharges from failed on-site septic systems, illicit connections, leachate from abandoned dumps, and resuspension of contaminated sediment. Approximately 50 percent of the watershed is served by separate sewer systems, with an additional 20 percent of the watershed served by combined sewers, and the remaining area unsewered. To address all sources of impairment it was necessary to build consensus among the 48 community governments, three county governments, state and federal government, industries, environmental groups, and private citizens.
The Rouge River Project demonstrates urban river restoration strategies such as CSO controls, stormwater management, streambed and streambank restoration, wetland creation and enhancement, and stormwater flow reductions. The largest traditional point sources of pollution, CSOs, have largely been controlled, or are programmed for control. For the other largest source of impairment, stormwater, Rouge communities and state and federal regulators initiated a management strategy centered around a watershed-based General Permit issued under the federal NPDES program. This program is based on cooperative, locally based stormwater management and requires permitees to participate in watershed planning for a self-determined subwatershed unit. The watershed management plans form the basis for implementing watershed goals and objectives that will result in improved water quality and pollution control.
When the Rouge Project began, its main focus was the control of CSOs. Project managers initially thought that if CSOs, the basin's largest point source of pollution, were controlled most of the river would meet water-quality standards. The monitoring and modeling program quickly demonstrated that even with a total elimination of CSOs, the designated uses of the river would still not be met because of other sources of pollution. The remaining sources, such as stormwater runoff, illicit connections, and failed on-site sewerage systems are more diffuse, may involve land-use practices, and the maintenance of environmental habitat. Project managers realized that to achieve water-quality standards and associated designated uses within the Rouge River Watershed, they must address pollution management in a holistic fashion that considers the inter-relationship between the impacts from all sources of pollution and use impairments in a receiving water.
Given its large watershed area, managers found that it was most effective to restore or protect water quality and ecosystem health by looking at subwatersheds. By focusing on 20- to 50-square-mile subwatersheds, the project was able to supplement the regulatory CSO program with voluntary, community-based efforts for stormwater management. Participants in these groups include technical staff from the communities, county roads agencies, county drains agencies, and county health departments, with local elected officials, representatives from environmental groups, and citizens participating in some groups. Recently, the groups have been focusing on their new watershed-based stormwater General Permit applications. As of January 31, 1999, 43 communities and agencies have applied for coverage under this permit and are initiating their watershed-based stormwater management efforts. In addition, many of the communities and agencies are taking early steps to implement pilot stormwater projects, develop needed ordinances, and pursue other related activities.
Institutional arrangements and financing options, one of the many elements that the local communities are addressing in their working groups, are likely to vary among subwatersheds. For example, some are likely to utilize the Michigan Drain Code to formalize their intergovernmental arrangements and financing; Others are likely to utilize existing organizations and relationships (e.g., public authorities such as sanitation agencies) to accomplish watershed-based activities.
As part of the subwatershed planning process, communities and agencies are also identifying issues that cross subwatershed boundaries, and investigating the necessary partnerships. For example, the subwatershed communities are also identifying those activities such as public education and water-quality monitoring, which may be most cost-effectively performed throughout the entire watershed by a single entity.
Program managers found that focusing on subwatersheds has many advantages. First of all, smaller areas are more manageable in terms of addressing water-quality problems. Second, people identify more with a subwatershed than a larger watershed. Local ownership of pollution problems and their solution is critical. Third, it is easier to analyze the various sources of water-quality problems in the subwatershed and to get a handle on the priority of dealing with those problems. It is critical to establish a hierarchy of pollution sources in a subwatershed, both point sources and nonpoint sources, based upon the adverse water-quality impacts of those sources. Finally, the tools needed to solve a subwatershed water-quality problem must be geared to that particular subwatershed, and the management plan that is developed must be tailored to address a subwatershed's specific problems.
In the Rouge River watershed, most communities have applied for a certificate of coverage under Michigan's Voluntary General Stormwater NPDES Permit. This regulatory framework encourages communities to cooperate in a watershed approach to address pollution problems. Overall stormwater management includes structural, vegetative, or management practices to treat, prevent, or reduce stormwater runoff. The Rouge Project has provided grant funding for stormwater management practices, including illicit discharge elimination and public education, to communities that apply for the General Permit. Community and county government representatives are also meeting in a "Roads and Watersheds Roundtable," which has resulted in the road commissioners integrating into their day-to-day thinking the needs of watershed protection. One product of this roundtable effort has been the development of compatible stormwater management requirements for projects under their jurisdiction.
Contact: Kelly Cave, Director of Division of Watershed Management, Department of Environment, MI, 313-224-8282, email: email@example.com.
* This case study was provided by the Wayne County Department of Environment, Michigan.
Des Plaines River Demonstration Project, Chicago, Illinois4
A 1990 study of four experimental wetlands constructed alongside the Des Plaines River near Chicago showed significant reductions of both concentrations and mass loads of sediment, solids, nitrate-nitrogen, and total phosphorous. To treat stormwater, a pump lifts water from river into the wetlands for treatment. Water then drains through a polishing swale before returning to the river. Removal efficiencies ranged from 76 to 99 percent for suspended solids, 39 to 99 percent for nitrate nitorigen, and from 52 to 99 percent for total phosphorus. The study provides evidence that constructed wetlands systems are an effective technique in developed communities where rivers are disconnected from their natural floodplain and little land is available in the headwaters for wetland construction.
Contact: Donald Hey, Wetlands Research, Inc., 312-415-3459.
Stormwater Detention Basins and Residential Location Selection, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana5
A 1995 survey that gauged perception of wet ponds revealed that 74 percent of residents from seven subdivisions believe wet ponds have a positive effect on the image of a development. Overall, respondents believed that lots adjacent to ponds are worth an average of 21.9 percent more than comparable lots not adjacent. Of those adjacent, 63 percent said the ponds are what they liked most about their neighborhood.
Contact: Carol Emmerling-DiNovo, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, 217-244-0994.
Maplewood Water Gardens, Maplewood, Minnesota6
This stormwater infiltration project, which started in 1995, uses a swale system rather than a traditional curb and gutter system to manage runoff. Residents choose how they want to plant the swales with native, water-loving species. This approach avoids high assessments on homes for curb and gutter improvements.
Contact: Ken Haider, City of Maplewood, MN, 651-770-4500.
Constructed Wetlands, Roseville, Minnesota7
To treat water draining into Lake McCarrons, at the bottom of a 600-acre urban watershed, runoff passes through a system of detention ponds before entering one of six "chambered" wetlands, where the chambers serve the purpose of slowing flow and increasing pollutant removal efficiency. Water-quality monitoring has shown that the system removes solids-associated pollutants very effectively and soluble nutrients moderately effectively. The detention pond removes most accumulated nutrients.
Contact: Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, St. Paul, MN, 651-602-1000.
Plain Dealer Publications Facility, Brooklyn, Ohio8
During the development of a new publications facility, which began in 1993, the Plain Dealer newspaper took several measures that reduced stormwater runoff. Developers retained or restored more than half the site in natural conditions, limited traditional high-maintenance landscaping to highly visible areas, and used prairie, wetland, and wildflower planting in open areas. These approaches led to a cost savings of $4,000 per acre over lawn installation, and $800 per acre for lawn maintenance. The Plain Dealer estimates a 30 to 50 percent reduction in runoff from the design.
Contact: Steven Apfelbaum, President, Applied Ecological Services, Inc., WI, 608-897-8641, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multiple-Chamber Treatment Train for Stormwater Hot Spots, Milwaukee and Monocqua, Wisconsin9
These three-chambered systems provides screening, settling, and filtration to help solve stormwater hot-spot treatment problems. Preliminary monitoring data from two pilot sites in Wisconsin appear to confirm that the system can achieve consistently high removal efficiencies for solids, nutrients, metals, and two polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Both systems are still in operation. Program staff installed the Milwaukee treatment train in the winter of 1996 and sampled it from April 1996 to September 1997. They installed the Monocqua treatment train in the winter of 1994 and sampled it between August 1995 and August 1996.
Contact: Robert Pitt, Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 205-934-8434, email: email@example.com.
Rock River Country Club, Rock Falls, Illinois10
The Rock River Country Club operates a private 18-hole golf course spread out over 100 acres of land in Rock Falls, Illinois. Superintendent Kerry Satterwhite introduced maintenance practices to reduce water quality impacts to over 3.4 miles of river, pond, and creek shoreline on the course including: an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, native plantings, and riparian buffer zones. And with native plantings and riparian buffer zones in place, many of these excess nutrients are removed before they reach a water body. The buffers also help control the geese population, thereby reducing nutrient loads from their droppings. The received accolades for Satterwhite's efforts as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Urban Acres program declared it to be a "Friend of Wildlife." Unfortunately after Satterwhite left Rock River, the buffer zones were mowed down to the river and the native plantings were removed.
Contact: Seth Janssen, Superintendent, Rock River Country Club, IL, 815-625-7923. Kerry Satterwhite, Rock River Country Club, IL, 309-434-2300.
Promoting Public Education and Participation
Lake Harriet Watershed Awareness Project
One of several lakes within Minneapolis city limits, Lake Harriet covers half of a square mile (about 300 acres) in the southwestern part of the city. Approximately 6,000 homeowners live in the lake's 1,139-acre watershed, a primarily residential neighborhood. Local residents use the lake and the park that surrounds it for swimming, boating, ice skating, fishing, and other recreation throughout the year. The lake is located in Minneapolis's most heavily used park, the Chain of Lakes, which receives approximately 2.4 million visitor-days per year.
By the early 1990s, water quality in Lake Harriet was declining, leading the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board, the Minnesota Department of Agri- culture (DoA), and the Hennepin County branch of the University of Minnesota Extension Service to undertake together the Lake Harriet Watershed Awareness Project. Aimed toward educating the watershed's residents about the effects their lawn-care practices were having on the lake, the project encouraged them to use alternative practices.
One representative from each of the three partner organizations, along with an interested citizen who was a former chair of the Minneapolis Environmental Commission, formed a steering committee that limited the project to a subwatershed of approximately 142 acres, which included 672 homes. Their first step in 1992 and 1993 was to gather baseline water-quality data before beginning any education efforts.
Monitoring continued during 1994 and 1995, when the educational activities began. The program principally relied on two different approaches: master gardeners and distribution of educational materials. The master gardener component began in the spring of 1994. Master gardeners were volunteers who received specialized training from the Extension Service and visited homes in the project area. During these visits the master gardeners gathered baseline information concerning the lawn-care practices, educated homeowners about good lawn-care practices, and asked them to keep a log of their lawn-care activities during the course of the growing season. A survey distributed prior to the home visits asked for similar information and also requested that people keep a log of their activities. During the summer of 1994, master gardeners met with 10 percent of the homeowners in the various neighborhoods.
In 1995, in addition to the master gardener program, the project distributed "Green Folders" containing educational materials to Lake Harriet watershed residents. The flyers contained in the folders explained to residents that a water- shed is like a funnel, using clever graphics to emphasize how materials running off a can enter a waterbody miles away. The flyers also set out principles for responsible use of pesticides and fertilizers, and good mowing and watering practices.
Another survey in August 1995 and a telephone survey/focus group effort in October of that year revealed some good results. Sixty-seven percent reported using some or all of the information contained in the folder, and 30 percent reported a change in behavior. Of those participating in the August survey, 44 percent reported keeping a log, while 18 percent of those in the October focus group (three out of 17) reported doing so.
But perhaps the best indicator of success is the monitoring data. The program focused its pesticide monitoring efforts on eight compounds that accounted for more than 95 percent of all pesticide detections. Of these, four were agricultural pesticides not used in the urban Lake Harriet watershed, testifying to the power of wind and rain to carry pesticides for miles across farms and suburbs into a major city. Eighty percent of the stormwater samples contained four lawn-care herbicides: 2,4-D, Dicamba, MCPP, and MCPA. During the course of the project, concentrations of all four of these pesticides fell by over 50 percent, and for the first three, the decreases only occurred in 1994 and 1995, after the program began its educational efforts.12 Contamination of agricultural chemicals did not decrease.
Two grants of $50,000 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency funded the efforts. The project has also received an additional $50,000 for the next phase of the work, which involves development of additional outreach materials and expansion of the efforts to other watersheds. The members of the steering committee felt that reaching consensus among people with different backgrounds and making adminstrative decisions -- deciding upon project structure and efficient means to accomplish particular tasks -- were the most difficult parts of the project. On the other hand, they felt that the diverse backgrounds and collaborative efforts improved the project.
|WATER QUALITY MONITORING RESULTS, SHOWING PESTICIDE REDUCTIONS,|
LAKE HARRIET WATERSHED AWARENESS PROJECT
|Annual Event Mean Concentration (µg/l)||Percent Decrease|
Contact: Jeff Lee, Parks and Recreation Department, Minneapolis, MN, 612-370-4900. Deb Pilger, Parks and Recreation Department, Minneapolis, MN, 612-370-4900.
Kids Help Protect Bear Creek
Cannon Township is combining inspection with education to protect the Bear Creek watershed. The township implemented a program that used kids to conduct septic system dye testing along Bear Creek and its tributaries. By making it an educational experience for fourth-and fifth-grade students, staff at the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute (WRI) at Grand Valley State University felt that people may be more receptive to having their septic systems tested.
Bear Creek is located in Kent County, Michigan, an area experiencing urbanization pressures expanding out of the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. To protect this designated coldwater trout stream, the Bear Creek Watershed Project focuses on prevention, with an emphasis on education and outreach. The project includes the Hydrologic Education Line for Partners (HELP), a 24-hour automated telephone information line intended to educate residents, provide information, and announce projects and activities; the Bear Creek Players, an environmental theater group that performs skits about Bear Creek and water-quality issues at elementary schools and community events; and the septic system dye testing program.
The township implemented the dye testing in response to high levels of bacterial contamination in Bear Creek. Water-quality sampling and monitoring by the county health department and WRI failed to identify any conclusive sources but recognized failing septic systems as one possible culprit.
The dye testing process itself is relatively simple and nonintrusive. Students send out letters to septic system owners, informing them of the process and procedures, as well as the need for such an inspection. So far, the class has contacted 137 homes and businesses and 21 were tested over a three-and-a-half- week survey period. If a septic system owner agrees to be a test site, students pour a tracer dye into the toilet and place charcoal receptor packets downstream in the creek. If the septic system leaks, charcoal packets absorb the dye, which can be detected through laboratory analysis. Students also take the opportunity to inform the owner about the creek, related water-quality issues, and septic systems.
One third of the systems tested during the spring of 1997 were failing in some way. By inspecting and testing septic systems at homes and business along the creek, the township has determined that septic systems are one source of fecal coliform bacteria. WRI recommends the township use this information as a guide for local officials to make more informed decisions about siting and constructing new septic systems, and for using alternative water treatment systems such as mound systems, community systems, and sand filter systems.
The Bear Creek Watershed Project is reaching more than just students; parents, homeowners, local officials, and project staff also learn more about water quality in the watershed. Watershed administrator Bonnie Shupe says, "Any time you get children involved, you seem to reach a greater audience." The program's message was able to reach beyond the watershed as well, being featured in the PBS television documentary Insatiable Thirst: Groundwater and the Crisis of Development14 that was aired across the state.
According to Shupe, the biggest benefit of the Bear Creek Watershed project is getting people aware that they need to take some action to preserve the creek. Through the project, people learned that many of their everyday activities affect creek quality, and that even something a basic as flushing the toilet can have a negative impact.
Original funding for the project came from Section 319 of the CWA along with a local match provided by the township. WRI administered the grant and provided staff and technical assistance. Working with WRI staff provided a substantial advantage because they provided skills, knowledge, and resources that would have otherwise been unavailable to Cannon Township.
Building off the success of the collaboration with WRI, the township is continuing its watershed protection efforts funded through its general account and managed by the newly established watershed administrator. The township has enjoyed support from its residents, who do not want to lose the momentum generated by the grant. There is consensus among residents and officials that it is better to focus on protecting the creek now rather than face the high costs of restoring it later.
Contact: Bonnie Shupe, Township Clerk/Watershed Administrator, Cannon Township, MI, 616-874-6966, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information and Education Campaign, Huron River Watershed Council, Ann Arbor, Michigan15
In 1997, the Huron River Watershed Council developed a mass-media campaign to educate and inform local citizens about simple practices they can adopt that will improve water quality. The campaign focuses on five messages: proper home toxics disposal, water conservation, proper lawn care, storm drain awareness, and septic system maintenance. The steps outlined are practical, economical, and have direct benefits to homeowners. The campaign includes print and radio advertising, point-of-sale promotions, and direct-mail pieces. To date, the watershed council has mailed more than 45,000 direct-mail pieces, and paid advertising is reaching more than 500,000 households. Print advertising has generated over 100 requests for information and home toxic drop-offs have increased 250 percent during the month of advertising.
Contact: Jennifer Wolf, Huron River Watershed Council, MI, 734-769-5123.
DuPage River Coalition, DuPage, Illinois16
Since 1990, the DuPage River Coalition has created a school stream monitoring program, organized thousands of volunteers for annual river cleanups, coordinated a storm drain stenciling program, created a sewage treatment plant monitoring program, and brought together local business and organizations to enhance the river. This volunteer program has improved the river, thereby benefiting aquatic habitat, recreation, education, and the local economy.
Contact: Jennifer Hammer, Director of Division of Watershed Protection, The Conservation Foundation, IL, 630-428-4500.
Milwaukee Survey Used to Design Pollution Prevention Program, Milwaukee, Wisconsin17
A 1989 survey revealed a willingness among citizens to do many things on their own to reduce stormwater pollution, and to pay $50 to $75 per year for lake and stream restoration programs. Respondents indicated that television news reports, newspaper articles, and community newsletters delivered to the home were the best ways to inform citizens about water resource issues. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of the respondents thought that BMPs such as grasses, swales, wet ponds, and infiltration basins should be required in all new developments.
Contact: Carolyn D. Johnson, Educational Technology Consultant, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, 414-290-2430, email: email@example.com.
Green Thumb Project, Madison, Wisconsin18
This education effort focuses on establishing binational zero-pesticide turf programs at schools, parks, and homes in the Great Lakes Basin. The Green Thumb program, which began in 1995, includes presentations, a guidebook, and a video. To date, the project has set up zero-pesticide demonstration sites at more than 20 locations in five Great Lake Areas of Concern.
Contact: Keith Reopelle, Program Director, Wisconsin's Environmental Decade, Madison, WI, 608-251-7020, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Controlling Construction Site Runoff
Economic Advantages of Green Lots
It is obvious to most people, even those without specialized training, that cleared and graded development sites that are not revegetated with grass or other plants can, depending upon climate and other variables, significantly pollute local streams and lakes due to excessive erosion. A recent study by Purdue University, funded in part by the Great Lakes Basin Program for Erosion and Sediment Control, and conducted in Geauga County, Ohio, and St. Joseph County, Indiana, found that an aggressive, widespread seeding and mulching program at residential construction sites reduced soil erosion by up to 86 percent, and reduced phosphorus loadings by 80 percent.
It has not been so obvious, however, that erosion prevention measures such as grass seeding can also help the developer's bottom line. But the recent Ohio-Indiana study has shown just that: erosion prevention translates into good business practice. In a survey of home buyers, realtors, and developers that examined perceived "lot valuations" (the perceived value that someone places upon a photograph of a residential lot for sale), Purdue researchers found that developers can realize a profit of $450 per lot through grass seeding to prevent erosion.
The study's methodology was fairly intricate but offers some confidence that the higher profit potential for the green lots is truly achievable. In the study, randomly selected lots in three residential housing developments in Geauga County, Ohio, and St. Joseph County, Indiana were seeded (by hydroseeding) and mulched by independent contractors. Photographs of these lots were taken prior to seeding and then when the grass was approximately an inch high. Lots were photographed from three angles and selected photos were used in a lot valuation survey of homebuyers, realtors, and developers. A total of 478 lot valuations were made of 62 different lots. To help reduce bias in the results, survey subjects were not told the actual purpose of the survey. Included within the wide range of the survey were specific questions on the importance of lot appearance, and a lot valuation question in which the subjects were asked to place prices on lots shown in the photographs. They were given 10 lot photos, told they were in the same subdivision with the same basic set of amenities and infrastructure systems, and asked to establish prices for each.
Researchers estimated results from two of the lots from the statistical analysis because they thought that aspects of the photographs might bias the subjects' perceptions in ways unrelated to the study's aim: one with a fire hydrant that downwardly biased the valuations, and another with lush vegetation behind the lot that upwardly biased the valuations. Data from the lots from the two counties were combined to form the study's results and analysis.
Homebuyers perceived grassed lots to be worth $750 more than comparable bare ("brown") lots. Based on the authors' estimate of developers' costs of reseeding, roughly $300 per lot, a net profit of $450 per lot could be realized by developers who act to prevent erosion. When considered in the context of multiple-unit subdivisions, the profits from erosion prevention for developers can be sizable. If a developer were to sell 100 lots with the reseeding investment, and nets an additional $450 per lot based on the buyers' valuation, the total net increase for all lots sold would be $45,000. In addition to the increased profit potential, a second economic benefit of reseeding for developers is that greener lots may sell faster, reducing developers' financing costs because investors can be repaid more quickly.
In Geauga County, according to Soil and Water Conservation District administrator Keith McClintock, developers are under an existing county ordinance that requires them to enter a maintenance period in which they establish vegetation on a lot before they can sell it. (Geauga's participation in the Purdue study was motivated more by an interest in supporting additional soil conservation in surrounding counties in Ohio and elsewhere nationwide than in Geauga County itself.) At the same time, developers' knowledge that green lots may sell more quickly, and bring a higher profit, may add to their incentive to comply with government soil conservation regulations, and certainly may help to garner added support for such regulations in other counties.
Contact: Jon Harbor, Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, IN, 765-494-9610, e-mail: email@example.com.
Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance
The Springfield, Missouri, metropolitan area is experiencing rapid growth, with development expanding into the surrounding rural areas. Concern is mounting over the impacts of development on the region's complex groundwater system, which serves as the drinking water supply, as well as area lakes and streams. Greene County, approximate population 60,000, in cooperation with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, is responding to protect the area's natural resources including the numerous sink holes, losing streams, and springs that characterize this region of karst topography.
Greene County adopted an erosion and sediment control ordinance in 1991, which applies to unincorporated areas. The ordinance required a grading permit that applies to all sites regardless of size, a mandatory sediment erosion control plan, and a bond. The county can waive requirements for sites where 1 acre or less is graded that are not within 25 feet of a designated sensitive area, and for certain repair, maintenance, and emergency activities. Lots in a new subdivision cannot be separated from the entire subdivision area. For sites with greater than 5 acres of disturbed land, a stormwater pollution prevention plan must be submitted for county review, and in most cases a sediment basin is required. As part of the stormwater plan, the developer needs to maintain a chain of responsibility with the contractors and builders until 90 percent of the lots within the development are built upon.
A sediment and erosion control plan must be submitted to receive a grading permit. These plans need to be prepared by a licensed or certified design professional. The county works with the design professional and developer to identify needed controls. Plans for sites greater than 5 acres require supervision from an engineer registered in Missouri. Plans must include key site features and the location and type of erosion and sediment controls.
Inspections are performed at each site within the first week of activity and upon completion; additional inspections may be performed depending on the scope and size of the project. Along with the ability to stop work and/or levy fines, the county requires a bond of $1,000 per disturbed acre. Greene County stormwater engineer Tim Smith believes that bonding is the most effective means for ensuring compliance. The county also has the authority to withhold building permits or rights of occupancy. The program is more effective since the building and zoning and planning departments work together on this issue. Remedies of up to $100 per day are available if needed, but as Smith points out, time delays are usually bigger deterrents -- no fines have been issued to date.
Despite these efforts, Smith still sees enforcement as the limiting element of the program and he believes that there is still room for improvement. However, he is positive about the program considering the regional setting. According to Smith, "It is unique in the region to have an ordinance let alone enforce it."
Since the region's karst topography makes groundwater and other water resources highly vulnerable to contamination, Greene County has adopted a policy to limit development in sinkhole areas. This helps prevent contamination of drinking water supplies and other critical areas from construction sites and other sources. Developers permitted to build in sinkhole areas must submit a detailed evaluation of flooding and runoff potential and water quality. Sites are classified based on their potential for contamination, with each hazard class requiring a set of sediment and erosion control measures, as well as permanent management measures.
The Greene County program also emphasizes reseeding. In the past, developers took too long to finish grading, which often resulted in erosion and sedimentation problems. Now developers must reseed disturbed areas within 30 days for inactive sites, and within six months for most active sites. While initially resistant, developers and the home builders association have more recently accepted the requirement, recognizing that buyers are more attracted to reseeded lots and therefore are likely to pay more.
Greene County issued approximately 47 permits in 1998, and inspectors found approximately one or two violations per week. A majority of violations involved operators unfamiliar with the ordinance. Smith says that most of the area's regular developers are familiar with the requirements and comply. He has noted improvements among these developers in terms of plan quality and implementation of controls since the ordinance was adopted. Other benefits include an observed decrease in silting of storm sewers and suspected decreases in maintenance.
Greene County supports and coordinates with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks in its efforts to work with developers, planners, and citizens to make stormwater management more tractable. The committee has conducted several programs to demonstrate good BMPs that result in both environmental improvements and economic gains. The committee is working to coordinate city and county efforts on the watershed level. It is also conducting programs to measure success on the macro and micro scales. One such program is the Pierson Creek Watershed Study, which monitored water quality over one year to identify and compare constituents in runoff from various types of land uses. Sampling showed some evidence that both urban and rural development contributed elevated levels of total phosphorus, metals, and fecal coliform to the creek.
Contact: Tim Smith, Stormwater Engineer, Greene County, MO, 417-868-4005.
Soil Erosion and Stormwater Runoff Control Ordinance, Grand Traverse County, Michigan21
Under this ordinance, adopted in 1991, on-site retention is required for all commercial developments and new subdivisions. Soil erosion and stormwater runoff control permits are required at sites greater than 1 acre or within 500 feet of a lake and stream. The county developed the ordinance in cooperation with the community through open workshops, hearings, and a citizens' advisory committee.
Contact: Maureen Kennedy-Templeton, Drain Commissioner, Grand Traverse County, MI, 231-995-6042.
Detecting and Eliminating Improper or Illegal Connections and Discharges
Huron River Pollution Abatement and Industrial Pollution Prevention
By the early 1980s, public concern over the health of the Huron River began to grow after several studies indicated that stormwater drains were the principal source of bacteriological contamination in the river, its lakes, and tributary streams. Researchers found fecal coliform levels over 1,000 times the regulatory standard for body contact in a local creek where children often played. Testing found 19 improper sanitary connections to the storm sewers that led to this creek. Once these connections were removed, fecal coliform levels in the creek fell beneath the regulatory standard.
The success of this pilot project and another larger demonstration in the mid-1980s, in which a number of additional improper connections were discovered, including one from a college dormitory that had been discharging 1,700,000 gallons of wastewater into the storm drains each year, inspired the communities in that part of the Huron River watershed to do more. Washtenaw County, along with the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, plus parts of the townships of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield, Scio, Superior and Ypsilanti, established the Huron River Pollution Abatement Project in 1987. The program focused on five major activities: illicit connection elimination, chemical storage surveys, water-quality monitoring, public education, and complaint and spill response.
The program's primary focus was eliminating illicit connections and discharges to the storm drain system. Crews visited industrial, commercial, and residential properties and asked permission to flush fluorescent dye through toilets or drains, then monitored nearby sanitary drain lines and storm drain lines to see where the dye had gone. Over 95 percent of the facilities contacted for dye testing cooperated. If inspectors found an illicit connection to the storm drains, the owner or manager of the building was notified and informed of potential remedies. Recommended remedies are often very simple, such as sealing an unused floor drain. If after three such letters the owner or manager has not fixed the problem, the program refers the site to the relevant municipality for possible enforcement action under the municipality's building code, since the program itself has no enforcement authority.
From 1987 through 1992, the program dyetested over 3,800 facilities, of which more than 450 had improper connections to storm sewers. The program verified that 328 of these illicit connections were removed. As a result, fecal coliform levels in the Huron River dropped by approximately 75 percent from 1987 to 1990. Sampling has indicated that during dry weather, from upstream of Ann Arbor to downstream of Ypsilanti, the river meets total body water contact for bacteria. However, there are still problems during wet-weather events related to urban runoff.
While the abatement program is no longer active, the county still responds to any identified problem. As an offshoot of the program, Ann Arbor has carried forward efforts to reduce illicit discharges to the Huron River watershed, which included inspection of the sewer system. Currently, the city and county are discussing a program to dye test properties during title transfer.
The county also provides other related services to the community. Washtenaw County offers a pollution prevention program for industrial and commercial sites. Inspections of facilities are prioritized based on the quantity of chemicals stored on site. With the owner or operator's permission, field staff walk through the facility to determine the location of drains and possible leaks or spills, gauge the facility's compliance with state and federal regulations concerning storage and disposal of chemicals, and provide advice about remedies for any problems. Mandatory fees based on the quantity of chemicals on the site fund this program, so it not only pays its own way, but also creates an incentive for the facility operator to minimize the use of regulated chemicals. While agreeing to inspections was not mandatory, the county was able to get a high participation rate by promoting it as a goodwill gesture to the community.
The county also encourages citizens to submit complaints about water quality, and has helped to eliminate discharges of syringes and medical waste, and oil and gasoline, to the storm sewer system. During the program, Washtenaw County responded to more than 400 water-quality complaints. The program also consistently monitors water quality in the river and other waterbodies in the river's watershed.
To fund the program, the Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner and the county's Drain Board created a special assessment district under the Michigan Drain Code. The program levied annual assessments for the City of Ann Arbor as a whole and on a per parcel basis, with adjustments for type of use and size of parcel, for the remainder of the district. Fees ranged from $4.50 for agricultural and residential properties to $150 for business properties greater than 5 acres. The county received about $325,000 per year from this assessment totaling $1.7 million over the life of the program. According to Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner Janis Bobrin, community members were, in general, willing to pay the assessment fee.
The water-quality index for the river -- an indicator that takes into account a number of important statistics such as temperature, sediment, oxygen demand, nutrient and fecal coliform readings -- consistently improved over the first five years of the program to levels not common for urban watersheds. In 1987, all four water-quality sampling stations in the abatement area had fecal coliform means above the total body contact standard, while all four were below the standard in 1990. Other measures indicate good to excellent ratings for fish and other wildlife, which is again unusual for an urban watershed.
A thoughtful process built on what was known about the sources of stormwater pollution and that has comprehensively addressed them has allowed the Huron River Pollution Abatement Project to bring about these improvements to the river for the benefit of all those who live near it. Bobrin also attributes the success to the program's local focus and the officials' initial efforts to work with the community.
Contact: Janice Bobrin, Drain Commissioner, Washtenaw County, MI, 734-994-2525, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Sample Outfalls and Survey Infrastructure
The Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD), which serves some 700,000 people in Louisville and Jefferson counties, Kentucky, uses high school students to help identify and eliminate illicit connections and discharges. The summer youth intern program began in 1993. MSD has traditionally been involved with the local school system to provide students with real-world work experience. When MSD first took over management of the stormwater system, they identified illicit connections and discharge elimination as a major priority. Involving high school students seemed like a cost-effective opportunity to inventory and sample the stormwater system while providing valuable experience to area youth.
The program aims to inventory, measure, and assess stormwater outfalls and other structures in the MSD system. Students walk the main streams and tributaries to locate and map outfalls, and stream crossings, measure and photograph drainage system infrastructure, and visually inspect outfalls for flow and signs of contamination. The location of outfalls and other structures are entered into a database that is linked to a GIS. This provides MSD with easy access to the information. It also improves their ability to assess the need for repairs or improvements, and to respond to problems or emergencies.
If students find a dry weather flow, they collect samples and screen them for chlorine, copper, detergents, and phenols using colormetric measures. If contamination is detected, the students notify MSD, which dispatches a technician to collect samples for laboratory analysis and to track down the source. Once the source is found, MSD works with the discharger to eliminate the problem. The responsible party is liable for all cleanup costs. In addition, MSD can levy fines if warranted by the offense, or if the responsible party fails to cooperate.
Monitoring groups consist of a technician (usually a college student), and two high school students. Each year, 16 students are hired through a competitive selection process for this summer job. To date, approximately 40 students have participated, with several working multiple summers. Three teachers and a consulting firm provide instruction, guidance, and quality assurance. Students receive training at the beginning of the program and in the field. Through the experience, they gain skills in map reading, field measuring techniques, water-quality sampling, data entry, and report preparation. Teacher Dennis Short says that the program gives students a great deal of self-confidence and makes them leaders during the school year.
There are eight watersheds within the MSD service area, with over 1,000 stream miles. Program coordinators set the goal of inventorying one watershed per year. Over six years, students have inventoried all eight watersheds and begun a second round of monitoring. "The students have a very good work ethic," says MSD executive director Gordon Garner. While he has not calculated the cost advantage of using students, Garner is sure it is a considerable savings. "The students have credibility with the customers," he adds, believing they provide additional benefits in terms of community relations. "Customers are more willing to talk to them than to a consultant or MSD employee."
To date, 6,350 outfalls and 702 structures have been identified and mapped through the program. Students found flow at 588 (9 percent) outfalls, but only 85 (1.3 percent) were found contaminated. MSD has or is currently responding to the contaminated outfalls; the need for maintenance and repairs is also being assessed and prioritized. The most typical constituents found are detergents, chlorine, and fecal coliform bacteria. Garner says that in most cases, the results point to domestic sources such as septic tanks, illicit pipes discharging to creeks, and swimming pools. He adds that improvements in water quality from removing illicit connections or preventing illicit discharges are difficult to determine due to the condition of local streams. MSD has been working hard to eliminate septic systems and approximately 400 small, temporary wastewater treatment plants, which are a significant source of local water pollution.
MSD complements the student program with other programs aimed at identifying and eliminating illicit discharges and connections including a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone hot line for reporting spills as well as illicit discharges and connections. A utility bill flyer makes customers aware of this service. MSD also requires spill prevention plans for all industrial facilities. New regulations adopted in February 1998 should improve MSD's ability to prevent discharges and enforce cleanup, and allow testing for illicit connections and identification of potential sources of illicit discharges. These regulations include identification of allowable and nonallowable discharges to the stormwater system, a right-of-entry clause to permit inspections, and program-specific enforcement actions. The most frequent action taken, usually against industry for chemical spills, is to levy fines ranging from $250 to $40,000.
The general public supports the program, feeling that it is an important step in improving the quality of local streams. Using students has helped raise community awareness about MSD's efforts, while the students gain practical knowledge and experience.
Contact: Bud Schardine, Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District, KY, 502-540-6319, email: email@example.com.
Illicit Discharge Identification and Elimination Program, Milwaukee, Wisconsin24
Milwaukee categorizes stormwater outfalls as part of its comprehensive dry-weather testing program. The city uses three categories, priority, secondary, and noncritical, to determine the frequency of testing. The city screens priority outfalls twice each year, secondary outfalls once each year, and noncritical outfalls once every three years. Depending on the findings, an outfall may be up- or downgraded. If contamination is found, department personnel work upstream to isolate the source, then physically inspect the site or perform video or dyetesting. Identified dischargers are required to correct the problem and are subjected to follow-up inspections. The city identifies approximately 20 to 25 potential illicit discharges each year.
Contact: Robert Rehm, Stormwater Manager, Public Works Department, Milwaukee, WI, 414-286-2496, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Implementing Pollution Prevention for Municipal Operations
The Village Links
Located in the western Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, this 240-acre, 27-hole golf course designed by David Gill is a three time-winner of Golf Course Management magazine's National Environmental Stewardship Award for public facilities. Grounded in the theme that "golf is good for the environment," the facility incorporates integrated pest management, water conservation, stormwater detention, native planting, recycling, and public outreach about the environment into its day-to-day management.
Tim Kelly, superintendent, states that these conservation efforts are not in addition to regular golf course maintenance, but rather they apply conservation concepts to every aspect of their operation. His approach is simple: to assess the usefulness, costs, and risks associated with the various management tools to determine if they will have positive or negative impacts on the environment. If a management tool is identified as one that harms the environment, then the golf course rectifies the situation by modifying the management tool or implementing a completely different management scenario.
The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system in place at The Village Links is rooted in the disease and pest thresholds that Kelly will accept before applying a chemical treatment. Chemical treatment is only applied after the problem has exceeded his level of acceptable damage. Village Links views these treatments as being curative rather than preventative.
Prevention comes with other aspects of the IPM program that are aimed at keeping the turf healthy so that it can withstand diseases and pests. Village Links focuses on mechanical and biological controls as the foundation of good prevention. Kelly says that he would rather remove branches infested with tent caterpillars than spray them with insecticides. Additionally, the course releases predatory insects and provides habitat for bluebirds, tree swallows, and bats, all of which consume and help control insect pests.
The course has a unique stormwater detention system that collects stormwater from nearby streets and neighborhoods in its 21 lakes and ponds that are connected by a series of spillways. Water is retained in the system during light and moderate rains, but when stormwater enters the system faster than it can handle, then the water spills on to the golf course settling out many of the entrained pollutants before they are carried to nearby streams and rivers. The ponds also provide approximately 60 percent of The Village Link's irrigation water, and the course itself passively treats and filters any excess runoff from irrigation.
Natural areas have become more of an integral part of the course over time, with more than 40 acres of short-mowed turf have been replanted with native grasses and woody plants. The once nearly treeless course has approximately 6 acres of trees with 30 acres more in development. Edge plantings throughout the course have increased wildlife habitat and proven to play a significant role in the course's IPM and pollution prevention programs. According to Kelly, the costs of these developments are offset by reduced mowing expenses alone.
Finally, The Village Links' has been extremely proactive in its efforts to spread the word about its own environmental programs as well as reaching out to the community of Glen Ellyn through innovative programs like the Backyard Wildlife Program. This program involves certifying schools and individuals that incorporate native plantings into their backyards. The first school certified as a wildlife sanctuary was Ben Franklin Elementary School. Over 600 students participated in planting the outdoor education area at the school.
As part of the program, participants receive a quarterly newsletter, Backyard Briefings, on attracting backyard wildlife with native plantings. The course also sponsors a yearly plant sale to provide community members with a source of native plants with all proceeds going to future projects. Kelly says that every year he sees an expansion in the diversity of wildlife on the course.
All of these changes since 1991 have allowed The Village Links to show thousands of community members and golfers alike that managing a course with the environment in mind can provide the region with more than an exceptional round of golf.
Contact: Tim Kelley, Superintendent, The Village Links, 630-469-2077, email: email@example.com.
Street Sweeping Pilot Study and Program
City officials in Madison, Wisconsin, have been interested in improving street cleaning operations since the late 1980s. With a 1995 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stormwater grant, the city was able to conduct a study to test whether street sweeping effectiveness could be improved through parking restrictions.
Madison based the program on strategies used elsewhere in the country such as San Francisco and Cambridge, Massachusetts. However, before adopting a citywide program, Madison wanted to test and see if parking restrictions were a feasible solution for the community. The city's Interdepartmental Parking Team believed that increased frequency or changing technology would not be enough. They argued that for a street cleaning program to truly be effective and worth the cost, cleaners must be able to get to the curb, which means parking restrictions.
The city chose the Sixth District for the study because of its cross section of neighborhoods and parking issues and because of Alderperson Bert Zipperer's strong support. The pilot study, which ran from May 1, 1995 until November 15, 1995, had three components: public education, parking enforcement, and street sweeping.
Public education focused on several strategies to inform residents, employees, shoppers, and visitors in the pilot area about the program. Beginning in March, the city installed 950 "No Parking" (on certain days) signs. The city then distributed flyers on cars and to residences, placed advertisements and information in neighborhood newsletters and local media, held neighborhood meetings, and mailed letters and posters to businesses and institutions.
This city designated one street sweeper to the district to clean each street one time per week. To enable sweeping to the curb, parking was restricted on one side of a street on a specified day. The city hired two parking monitors to enforce restriction by issuing $10 tickets or warnings. If possible, monitors made an effort to inform car owners before ticketing by making announcements in local businesses or contacting known car owners; approximately one warning was issued for every two tickets. Monitors issued tickets regardless of whether the sweeper had passed.
To evaluate the pilot program, Madison collected data on parking tickets and warnings, cubic yards of debris collected, measures of street cleanliness, stormwater sampling, cost and revenues, and complaints. The city also surveyed a random sample of residents.
Over the 28-week period, monitors issued 7,998 tickets and 3,939 warnings. In most cases, the city observed a gradual decline in the number of tickets issued over the study period. In a random sample of vehicles receiving tickets, 53.5 percent were registered outside the pilot area.
The street cleaner collected a total of 1,415 cubic yards of material during the pilot period or 24 cubic yards per curb mile swept, 13 cubic yards per mile more than areas cleaned without parking restrictions. The city's street cleaning supervisor rated the streets as basically clean for the entire pilot period and rated them cleaner than streets outside the study area. Unfortunately, the city did not have baseline data for comparison.
The city sampled stormwater outfalls in the pilot area during three storm events. The results indicated reductions in suspended solids, cadmium, chromium, copper, and lead. However, Health Department staff found the data to be inconclusive due to the large number of variables involved, the lack of data points, and the fact that sampling methods did not measure the large particles that street sweeping is best at collecting.
Of the 600 surveys mailed to randomly selected households in the study area, 383 have been returned, a response rate of 63.8 percent. The survey revealed that 97 percent of respondents were aware of the pilot project, with only 8 percent finding out about the project by receiving a ticket; 56 percent of the respondents received zero tickets. Support was high: 75 percent of respondents indicated that the program was basically a good idea, and 45.6 percent indicated that it should be expanded into other sections of the city; 64 percent of respondents observed their streets as at least somewhat cleaner, while only 11.9 percent indicated that the program's benefits were outweighed by cost and inconvenience.
The street sweeping operating and maintenance costs totaled $27,458; parking enforcement cost $33,419. Revenues from enforcement at $10 per ticket at an 80 percent collection rate totaled $63,984, resulting in net revenues from enforcement equaling $30,565. This indicates that the education and enforcement aspect of the program could be self-sufficient.
The Interdepartmental Parking Team was pleased with the outcomes of the program. Parking restrictions enabled sweeping to the curb on a routine basis, which resulted in a greater amount of material collected and visibly cleaner streets, with a majority of residents indicating minimal inconvenience. As a result of the pilot study, the program continued in the Sixth District with some modification, and was adopted in a neighboring district. However, further expansion has been stymied by funding limitations. As Street Superintendent Roger Goodwin explains, weekly cleaning to the curb line may get better results and higher compliance, but the program will need greater resources and political support if it is to expand. He believes that a stormwater utility would help, but that it may take encouragement from the state or federal government to get the city to act.
Contact: Roger Goodwin, Street Superintendent, Department of Public Works, WI, 608-266-4680, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Street Sweeping Program, East Chicago, Indiana27
East Chicago implemented a comprehensive street sweeping program that included six new vacuum street sweepers and 23 additional employees to make this city service more effective. City crews clean catchbasins and sweep streets at least once every two weeks. City officials believe that this program will improve water quality and eliminate stormwater sewer backup. East Chicago also sees this as a cost-effective endeavor since the machines can perform multiple tasks.
Contact: Michael Suty, Director of Utilities, Utilities Division, IN, 219-391-8466.
Pest Management Policy, Madison, Wisconsin28
Madison Parks and Recreation adopted an integrated pest management policy in 1987, updated in 1991. Park lands are no longer treated uniformly, but spot treated when needed. No herbicides have been used to control broad leaf weeds on general park land turf since 1981. Mosquito problems have been corrected without pesticide use. The department uses a nonpesticide herbicidal soap to spot treat problem areas. Athletic fields are no longer treated with 2,4-D. Instead, a "weed and feed" strategy is used. Fields are mowed at 2.5 inches and lakeweed is controlled by manual cutting and removal.
Contact: Ray Shane, City of Madison Parks Division, Madison, WI, 608-838-3920.
1. Apfelbaum, S. I., J. D. Eppich, T. Price, and M. Sands, The Prairie Crossing Project: Attaining Water Quality and Stormwater Management Goals in a Conservation Development, unpublished manuscript; Apfelbaum, S. I., J. D. Eppich, T. Price, M. Sands, D. Hoffman, and P. Margolin, On Conservation Developments and Their Cumulative Impacts, unpublished manuscript.
2. Design Center for American Urban Landscape, University of Minnesota, "Building Within the Community Watershed," Newsletter, March 1993, vol. 1, no. 3; Bonestroo, R., Anderlik & Associates, Inc., "Stormwater Drainage System Builds Foundation for Environmental Corridor," Focus, Fall 1995, p. 5; Hardy, R., Sienna Corporation, personal communications, March 11 and December 16, 1998; Tooker, C., former city planner, Farmington, Minnesota, personal communication, December 16, 1998; Thompson, L., Sienna Corporation, personal communication, December 30, 1998; Bigalke, K., Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, personal communication, January 4, 1999.
3. Cave, K., Director of Division of Watershed Management, Department of Environment, Wayne County, Michigan, 1999.
4. Ohrel, R. and T. R. Schueler., "Technical Note 78: Pollutant Removal by Constructed Wetland in an Illinois River Floodplain," Watershed Protection Techniques, vol. 2, no. 2, Spring 1996, pp. 376–379.
5. Emmerling-DiNovo, C., "Stormwater Detention Basins and Residential Locational Decisions," Water Resources Bulletin, vol. 31, no. 3, 1995, pp. 515–521.
6. Bonsignore, G. and B. Morrish, University of Minnesota Design Center for American Urban Landscape, personal communication.
7. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Use of Wetlands in Stormwater Management pamphlet, undated.
8. Apfelbaum, S. I., Applied Ecological Services, Inc., personal communication, February 1997.
9. Center for Watershed Protection. "Technical Note No. 87: Multi-Chamber Treatment Train Developed for Stormwater Hot Spots," Watershed Protection Techniques, vol 2, no. 3, February 1997, pp. 445–449; R. Pitt, personal communication, February 1999.
10. "Stewardship on a Budget," Golf Course Management, February 1997, vol. 65, no. 2, pp. 69–70, 72, 76, 78; Satterwhite, K., Rock River Country Club, personal communications, February 10, 1998 and January 4, 1999.
11. Nordstrom, M. U., Interim Summary: Lake Harriet Watershed Awareness Project, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, unpublished draft paper, June 1997; Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board, University of Minnesota Extension Service, Lake Harriet Watershed Awareness Project: Making a Difference Through Water Quality Education, undated brochure; Lake Water Quality Management Citizens' Advisory Committee, Report and Recommendations, July 1993; Osgood, D., "Lakes of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area," in E. Derby, D. Pilger, and J. Lee, eds., Minneapolis Lakes and Parks: Proceedings of a Symposium Special Session and Contributed Papers, 16th Annual North American Lake Management Society International Symposium on Lake, Reservoir and Watershed Management, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 14, 1996; Spetzman, J., Minnesota Department of Agriculture, personal communications, March 2 and April 2, 1998.
12. Chart taken from Nordstrom, M. U., Interim Summary: Lake Harriet Watershed Awareness Project, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, unpublished draft paper, June 1997, p. 4.
13. Scott, B., Research Assistant, Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, personal communication, July, 1998; Scott, B., January 1998, "Fecal Coliform and Escherichia Coli Bacteria as Water Quality Indicators in the Bear Creek Watershed, Kent County, Michigan," Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan; Shupe, B., Watershed Administrator and Township Clerk, Cannon Township, Michigan, personal communications, August 31, 1998; Water Resource Institute, Grand Valley State University, The Bear Creek Watershed Projects, http://www.wri.gvsu.edu/bearpage.htm.
14. Copies of Insatiable Thirst: Groundwater and the Crisis of Development can be ordered by contacting Forest Godsey, WFUM-TV, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI 48502-1950, 810-762-3028.
15. Huron River Watershed Council Information and Education Campaign; American Water Resources Association News Letter article submitted September 10, 1998.
16. American Rivers, 1997 Urban Hometown River Awards factsheets, 1997.
17. Simpson, J., "Technical Note 37: Milwaukee Survey Used to Design Pollution Prevention Program," Watershed Protection Techniques, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 133–134.
18. Porter, P., Green Thumb Project, personal communication, September 10, 1998.
19. Harbor, J., Purdue University, personal communication, April 1998; Herzog, M. and J. Harbor et al, "Are Green Lots Worth More than Brown Lots? An economic incentive for erosion control on residential developments," paper accepted for publication by the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, November 1998; McClintock, K., Geauga County Soil and Water Conservation District, personal communication, October 1998; Herzog, M., Harbor, J., McClintock, K., Law, J., and Goranson, K., "Reducing Erosion Problems from Land Development: An Economic Incentive for Erosion Control," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (Accepted).
20. Coulter, A., Watershed Project Coordinator, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, personal communication, November 6, 1998; Smith, T., Stormwater Engineer, Greene County, Missouri, personal communication, December 12, 1998; Erosion and Sediment Control Regulation, Article IV of the Greene County Zoning Regulations, Sections 307 and 314 of the County Stormwater Design Standards, drafts, October 27, 1997 and June 22, 1997.
21. Kennedy Templeton, M., Drain Commissioner; Grand Traverse County, Michigan, personal communication, Grand Traverse County Soil Erosion and Stormwater Runoff Control Ordinance, 1992.
22. Badics, R. C. and D. A. Dean, "Stormwater Regulations: Perspectives from a Successful Urban Program," State and Federal Programs, pp. 10–19; Apogee Research, Inc., Benefits of Storm Water Management: Case Studies of Selected Communities, April 1994 draft final report, pp. 29–39; Bobrin, J., Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner, personal communications, January 9, 1998 and December 16, 1998.
23. Ogden Environmental and Energy Services Company, Inc., Year Four Report, Jefferson County, Kentucky Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Discharge Permit Program KPDES Permit KYS 000001, January 1998, Louisville, Kentucky; Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District, 1998 Summer Youth Intern Program: Stormwater Outfall Sampling and Structure Inventory, October 1998, 10 pp.; Gordon Garner, Executive Director, Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky Municipal School District, personal communication, October 28, 1998; Dennis Short, teacher, Valley High School, personal communication, November 6, 1998; Jim Croan, Clas Sickles, personal communication, November 4, 1998.
24. Thurr, T., Milwaukee Public Works Department, personal communication, October 1, 1998.
25. "Third time's a charm (again)," Golf Course Management, February 1997, vol. 65 no. 2, pp. 11–20.
26. Goodwin, R., Street Superintendent, Department of Public Works, Madison, Wisconsin, personal communication, December 8, 1998; Interdepartmental Parking Team, Street Sweeping Pilot Evaluation Report, City of Madison, Wisconsin, February 1996.
27. Suty, M. and J. Lens, East Chicago Creates Comprehensive Street Sweeping Program, Public Works, March 1998, pp. 35–40.
28. Shane, R., City of Madison Parks Division, personal communication, April 1998.
Get Updates and Alerts
Water on Switchboard
NRDC experts write about water efficiency, green infrastructure and climate on the NRDC blog.
Recent Water Posts
- Clean Water Rule Litigation Update: Let's All Just Take a Breath
- posted by Jon Devine, 8/28/15
- Water and Wastewater Systems Are Still At-Risk 10 Years after Katrina
- posted by Ben Chou, 8/27/15
- Seamless Growth Ahead for NRDC's Clean by Design
- posted by Linda Greer, 8/18/15
NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs
- Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
- Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
- NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.