Community Responses to Runoff Pollution
Top of Report
STRATEGIES IN THE SOUTHEAST
Addressing Stormwater in New Development and Redevelopment
Hillsborough County, FL | Fort Bragg, NC | Brevard County, FL | Cobb County, GA | City of Oakland Park, FL | Alexandria, VA | Additional Examples
Promoting Public Education and Participation
Florida | Charlotte, NC | Campaign to Establish a Utility: Prince William County, VA | Water-Wise Gardener Program: Prince William County, VA | Additional Examples
Addressing Stormwater in New Development and Redevelopment
Natural Areas Preserved in New Development
Magdalene Reserve is a single-family detached home subdivision located in the Lake Magdalene area a few miles northwest of Tampa. A typical home has three bedrooms and 2,500 square feet of space. In planning the first phase of the development in the late 1980s, the developer, Tampa Housing Group, motivated by the beauty of existing trees on the property, sought to preserve the oaks, magnolias, and palmettos on the site. Using a comprehensive tree survey and evaluation of natural values for the parcel, site planner/landscape architect Ekistics Design Studio achieved a low-tech approach that minimized the degree of disturbance to the site while meeting all the original economic objectives of development.
The designers changed the original loop road planned for the site to a single cul-de-sac, eliminating 25 percent (350 feet) of roadway. To avoid the trees, they sited this new roadway atop an existing dirt road and curved the road as necessary. The right-of-way was 32 feet wide, as opposed to the customary 50 to 70 feet, and the roadway itself was only 24 feet wide, including the 2-foot-wide curb and gutter combinations on either side. Some homes share driveways. The planners positioned homes on each site to minimize tree removal, so some homes are on odd-shaped lots. In addition, planners were able to reduce the amount of lot grading on sloping sites needed to elevate a home above the flood plain by using stem-wall footings for foundations rather than slabs. All of these measures reduce stormwater quantity. By preserving the existing trees and ground cover, they were able to maintain the vegetative uptake of stormwater while reducing impervious cover that prevents infiltration.
Overall, the cost to develop Magdalene Reserve was comparable to a typical development. Savings in grading and utility construction were roughly offset by increased cost for design, tree preservation, and lot-by-lot clearing. However, there are net maintenance savings and the more attractive houses sold better than those in conventional subdivisions. The quiet sense of neighborhood created by this cloister of homes within a busy urban area has resulted in increased property value over time.
The design of the 36 individual home sites also provides stormwater benefits. Backyard swales enhance on-site infiltration. The designers used xeriscape landscaping techniques including drought-resistant native plants that absorb rainwater and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers. Front yards were not sodded. The homeowners association employs a landscape maintenance firm to care for vegetation on both common land and private home sites according to a detailed environmental plan, ensuring that pesticide and fertilizer use remains low. Although great efforts were taken to preserve the existing native vegetation, the planted areas include both native species and low-impact non-native species.
The developer kept approximately 42 percent of the site as common open space or conservation area. Two stormwater retention ponds in this area are smaller -- and thus less expensive -- than they would have been because of the variety of stormwater controls described above. Yet these ponds are still large enough to store the runoff from a "100-year storm" -- a major storm with a probability of occurring once every 100 years -- and thus keep runoff out of three lakes that border the site. The developer installed stormwater ponds and swales planted with wetland vegetation to assist in biological assimilation of pollutants.
Many of the ideas incorporated into the site design were not consistent with existing Hillsborough County regulations, which provided uniformity at the expense of environmental sensitivity. But developers worked closely with county officials to convince them of the merits of their plan, obtaining administrative waivers that allowed them to save more than 800 additional trees from a traditional design. Based on the successes of Phase I, the developer easily obtained approval for Phase II of the project.
Contact: Thomas Levin, Ekistics Design Studio, FL, 813-931-8040, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Better Parking-Lot Design
In 1993 the U.S. Army needed a major new vehicle maintenance facility at Fort Bragg. The initial design prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers included 25 acres or buildings and paving on the 26-acre site. The parking area was to consist of 420 vehicle spaces with no traffic islands or any planting areas around the buildings. All the runoff would be conveyed through culverts up to 48 inches in diameter and discharged from a single outfall to an existing creek, which would likely cause severe erosion problems. Furthermore, all the existing on-site pine trees, which serve as habitat for endangered woodpeckers, would be removed.
However, the army decided to bid out the design. The army selected an alternative design that reduced the paved surface area to 14.3 acres, increased the parking to 520 spaces by defining traffic flow, and included grassed islands within the parking area and planting areas around the buildings. The revised design also eliminated the large on-site and all off-site storm drain pipe with four on-site stormwater management basins that discharged into existing small storm drain systems. In addition, the design minimized earthwork and preserved many of the large, on-site Pine trees.
The redesign provided a number of environmental benefits. The four detention basins, located in the grassed islands, captured sediment during construction and allowed pollutants to settle out of the stormwater. The reduction in paved area not only lessened paving costs, but eliminated the need to construct a concrete-paved stormwater conveyance swale. The on-site drainage system uses sandy soils and there are no off-site drainage structures. Some of the grass islands encircled existing trees and thus protected the trees and provided a wildlife movement corridor as well as habitat for endangered woodpeckers. These existing trees, along with other newly planted trees, also provided relief from the sun and helped to keep the buildings and the general area cooler.
At the same time, the redesign continued to serve the Army's non-environmental purposes. The number of parking spaces increased to 520. This was achieved through the efficient management of paving and layout of buildings. The location of the grassed islands forced traffic to move in more efficient ways.
In addition to providing all these benefits, the redesign saved the Army approximately $1.6 million from the Corps' initial site budget of $8 million. Cost reductions were achieved in the decrease of paved areas ($823,000); elimination of the 48-inch stormdrain to the stream, along with the other stormwater control revisions ($390,000); and reduction in earth excavated ($400,000).
Contact: Alan Thorne, Townsend Architectural Planning Group, Greenville, SC, 864-271-7678.
Baffle Boxes Around a Lagoon*
The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program identified stormwater discharges as the major factor of the decline of the lagoon's health. In particular, reductions in the stormwater loadings of total suspended solids, nutrients, and freshwater are needed to restore the lagoon.
To address this issue, the county developed an innovative BMP, the baffle box, which can be installed within existing rights-of-way as a method of retrofitting stormwater discharges where land is unavailable for traditional BMPs. Baffle boxes are large sediment traps that require regular maintenance. Sediment accumulation rates vary depending on site characteristics such as drainage area, land use, soil type, slope, mowing frequency, base flow, etc. The boxes accumulate from 500 to 50,000 pounds per month, with cleaning required monthly in the wet season, and every two to three months in the dry season.
By the end of 1997, the county had installed 31 baffle boxes with others under construction. As part of the implementation of the Indialantic region stormwater master plan, 11 additional baffle boxes are currently being installed and monitored. Three different designs are under evaluation to determine their effectiveness including: 1) a two-chamber box for small pipes and drainage areas; 2) a three-chamber box for larger pipes; and 3) two boxes in series where one box currently exists and collects large amounts of sediment.
|BAFFLE BOX PROJECTS SUMMARY|
|Project||Drainage Area||Cost||Project||Drainage area||Cost|
|Rivershore||7.2 acres||$ 9,463||Riverside||161 acres||$24,944|
|Indialantic I||25 acres||$13,580||Sunset Park||24 acres||$23,422|
|Monaco||54 acres||$32,835||Puesta Del||2.2 acres||$25,181|
|Pinetree||134 acres||$33,925||Cedar Lane||0.9 acres||$25,027|
The average cost of installing a baffle box is around $22,000, the average clean-out cost is $450 (by private contractor). Funding from the county's stormwater utility and a Section 319 Nonpoint Source grant from Florida are paying for the Indialantic projects. These all serve mainly residential land uses, and the construction costs and watershed drainage area are summarized in the above table.
The monitoring program for the 11 new baffle boxes began in the spring of 1998 so results are not yet available. However, previous assessments of the effectiveness of baffle boxes on 22 existing systems is shown below:
|BMP||Number Installed||Number Cleanouts||Total lb. Cleanout||Ave. lb. Cleanout||Cost/lb. Per Cleanout||Removed|
The county has also installed a continuous deflection separation unit, a new BMP from CDS Technologies of Australia. This unit cost $55,000 to install and treats the runoff from a 40-acre watershed. This unit captures 100 percent of floatables and has been cleaned out twice, resulting in the removal of 8,013 pounds of sediment.
Contact: Michael Powers, Engineer, Surface Water Improvements, Public Works Department, FL 321-633-2014, email: email@example.com.
* This case study was provided by Eric H. Livingston, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with original information provided by Gordon England, Brevard County, Florida (1997).
Development with Less Pavement*
An Atlanta developer has created a new residential development that incorporates the best of the old and the new in a water-quality-friendly neighborhood called Burnt Hickory Registry. The developer, Steve Macauley of Macauley Homes and Neighborhoods, worked closely with Cobb County to obtain exceptions from existing local regulations that actually contribute to runoff.
Traditional housing developments in the county have uniform lot sizes (usually a half acre) that ignore the natural topography of the land. At Burnt Hickory, lots are platted with attention to the slope and other natural features. This has, in some cases, resulted in smaller lot sizes than traditional planned development zoning dictates. However, by following the natural contours and features, a minimal amount of land is cleared and more open green space is available in the community.
By making the streets narrower, Macauley reduced impervious surfaces by 10 to 20 percent. Where cul-de-sacs could not be eliminated, the runoff impact was lessened by landscaping the center of these areas. Another aesthetically pleasing protective feature is an 8-foot setback for all sidewalks with trees and landscaping buffering the sidewalks from the road.
Even during construction, contractors took precautions to keep runoff to a minimum. Felled trees were ground up and used on site to create check dams to filter runoff. Hydroseed, or mulch-covered disturbed soil, and temporary small detention ponds with standpipes were installed to control flow. As the ponds filled, drainage through the standpipes was routed through the check dams to filter sediments from stormwater runoff. Visual inspections during rain events indicated water clarity similar to pre-disturbance.
By combining features of both traditional neighborhood development (still favored by zoning requirements in Georgia) and open space planning, which maximizes green spaces, common area, nature area, and preserves, Macauley is promoting "Town Park" planning. He uses the environmentally friendly features of Burnt Hickory Registry as a marketing tool. He also incorporated historic features found during an archaeological survey of the site into the development, including the remains of a 1848 chimney, a Civil War trench/rifle pit, and an old mill on several "premium lots."
As demand by environmentally conscious home buyers increases, local governments should continue to make concessions to development practices that promote better land stewardship while decreasing environmental impacts, or change their codes to encourage such practices.
Contact: Steve Macauley, Macauley Homes and Neighborhoods, GA, 770-951-8108.
* This case study first appeared in Nonpoint Source News-Notes, Issue no. 54, November 1998.
Oil and Grease Removal BMP*
The City of Oakland Park received one of Florida's Stormwater Demonstration grants to develop and monitor a prototype BMP for in-line removal of oil and grease from stormwater, using oil-absorbent material in a 5-acre watershed. The city chose the Northeast 40th Court as the demonstration site because inspection of the storm sewer system revealed substantial amounts of oil and grease. These were attributed to the large number of automobile repair shops, paint shops, plating shops, and similar businesses in the drainage area.
The project consisted of characterizing the concentrations of oil and grease in the stormwater, a review of the material safety data sheets of three different oil sorbent materials, a laboratory bench scale study of one of the oil sorbent materials, construction of the BMP system, and effectiveness monitoring. The final BMP system included a diversion box with a weir to direct runoff into the treatment system.
As stormwater enters the treatment unit, flow is directed against an aluminum baffle imparting a slight rolling motion, which causes floatables and trash to be trapped against the baffle wall for easy removal. Upon entering the treatment chamber, velocity slows greatly, allowing grit, sludge, and oil particulate matter to settle to the sloping bottom. The stormwater is then redirected upward through two cross-layers of the absorbent media sandwiched between two aluminum grates, where free oil and grease are removed via absorption onto the material. The absorbent media chosen was custom made by NewPig Corporation of Tipton, Pennsylvania. The product, called the Spaghetti Pillow, consists of shredded strips of polypropylene packaged in tough, UV-resistant mesh skin in the shape of a rectangular bag or pillow. The two layers of media are placed perpendicular to each other to avoid short circuiting.
Total cost of the project was $260,870, including $71,490 for the construction of the treatment system and $189,380 for sampling equipment, plus consultant and laboratory fees.
The city conducted inflow and outflow sampling of the system for 10 storms between July 1994 and April 1995. Storm-event oil and grease concentrations ranged from 0 to 261 mg/l with mean pollutant concentrations ranging from 1.41 to 85.58 mg/l. Oil and grease mass removal efficiencies ranged from 71 percent to 95 percent while flows ranged from 0 to 1.75 cfs. The absorbtion efficiency of the filter media bags were measured twice. The amount of oil and grease absorbed ranged from 1.7 pounds to 62.5 pounds, which represents an absorption efficiency of 110 percent to 470 percent.
Contact: Greg Gomez, Street and Stormwater Division, City of Oakland Park Public Works, FL 954-561-6271.
* This case study was provided by Eric H. Livingston, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with original information provided by CDM, (1995).
Targets of Opportunity Urban Retrofit Program
Alexandria, Virginia, located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is a growing urbanized area (41 percent impervious cover) that includes many streams. Officials have classified many of these streams as "severely degraded urban streams." As part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, these streams fall under several regulatory requirements and guidances aimed at reducing pollutant discharges into the Bay and its tributaries. Reducing urban stormwater runoff through retrofits is one of the recommended strategies and targeted objectives of these programs. In addition, Alexandria made it a point to restore partially or protect these streams. Based on the city's characteristics, its water quality goals, and these regulatory requirements, Alexandria decided to focus on urban retrofits to treat stormwater runoff.
In the process of developing a stormwater quality program for Alexandria, city staff identified several sites for possible urban retrofits and undertook a full survey of these opportunities. Alexandria identified four basic elements of a successful urban retrofit program and some effective tools for implementation. First, gain knowledge of the watershed and the stormwater infrastructure. Alexandria relied on existing maps and aerial photographs as well as conversations with knowledgeable staff to gain an overall understanding of the drainage system. Second, identify potential retrofit opportunities. Using the same tools as mentioned above, Alexandria focused on streams lower in the system with many outfalls and areas with existing ponds in order to maximize effectiveness. Third, investigate retrofit opportunities with land owners and developers early. City staff utilized required pre-submittal conferences with developers to discuss retrofit opportunities. Fourth, identify win-win situations. For example, the city looked for opportunities where a developer could save money by building a regional facility on public lands instead of on-site BMPs treating only their runoff. At all stages, Alexandria stresses the need to foster a spirit of cooperation.
Since the program's inception, the city and developers have implemented nearly 1,000 acres of urban BMP retrofits, most with a regional focus. Many of these retrofits have been fully and voluntarily constructed and financed by developers of adjacent downgrade properties. In addition, another 1,000 acres are being treated by privately installed BMPs required under the city's new development code. All together, runoff from over 20 percent of the city's total land area received treatment.
One example of the Targets of Opportunity program is the Cameron Lake Regional Detention Facility. While zoning this 164.5-acre former Army Base for private development, city staff noted that two interconnected lakes, which would become a city park, were stormwater detention ponds for approximately 60 acres of runoff. By making early arrangements with the Army to require drainage though these lakes as a condition of future development, the city was able to facilitate a private-public partnership with the eventual developer. By retrofitting the existing lakes, the developer was allowed to develop the site at a greater density. This more than offset the cost of upgrading the detention facilities. The developer was also able to avoid the higher cost of installing sand filters to treat runoff, which would have been required if the lakes had not been retrofitted.
The developer incorporated several state-of-the-art features into the retrofit. Engineers began by creating a permanent pool with an upflow anaerobic tricking filter at the outlet instead of the existing concrete flume and wire trash rack. They also added a forebay to catch sediment, which could be isolated during maintenance, and an oil/trash skimmer. The designers also included facilities for monitoring flow rates and chemical composition of runoff to the lakes.
This regional facility treats runoff from 247 acres, a 32 percent increase over previous conditions. City staff estimate that the facility will remove approximately 710 pounds of phosphorus annually (65 percent efficiency) and 3,236 pounds of nitrogen annually (40 percent efficiency) from stormwater runoff. The city then tied in an additional 38 acres as part of the development of an adjacent city park.
In all, seven retrofit projects have been installed since 1992. To date, the program has resulted in 23 percent of the total retrofit coverage targeted by the state for the Shenandoah and Potomac River Basins, whereas the city comprises only 3.3 percent of the urbanized area within the basins. Total annual pollutant removal for these projects is estimated at 2,545 pounds of phosphorus per year and 10,193 pounds of nitrogen per year. The phosphorus removal has exceeded the urban retrofit targets of the state's "Nutrient Strategy" for the basin, and is within 3 percent of the nitrogen reduction target.
Alexandria's assessment of their experience indicates that any jurisdiction with a stormwater quality program can institute an urban retrofit program without detailed engineering studies or technologies such as a GIS. Alexandria won the Chesapeake Bay Local Government Advisory Committee's Community Innovation Award for its commitment to protect and restore water resources though the Targets of Opportunity program.
Contact: Emily A. Baker, City Engineer, Transportation and Environmental Services, City of Alexandria, VA, 703-838-4280.
Level Spreader/Filter Strip System, Virginia7
Developers controlled runoff from a 10-acre shopping center using a distribution box and a level lip spreader across a vegetative buffer. The average construction cost was $0.20 per cubic foot treated, which is roughly four times less than equivalent treatment from a stormwater pond; the cost of maintenance is expected to be greater.
Contact: Center for Watershed Protection, 410-461-8323, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remlik Hall Farm, Middlesex County, Virginia8
A design experiment resulted in a residential development at Remlik Hall Farm following conservation design measures, such as arranging 52 homes on a 490-acre site (1/6- to 1-acre lots) to preserve open space and reducing road width from 20 to 18 feet. This design saved developers $39,800 in site engineering and design, $525,000 in road construction, and $12,000 in sewage and water fees.
Contact: Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Richmond, VA, 804-780-1392.
Open Space Protection Ordinance, Broward County, Florida9
Broward County adopted an ordinance that protects open space and encourages cluster development.
Contact: Planning Council, Broward County, FL, 954-357-6695.
Urban Development Boundary, Miami-Dade County, Florida10
Dade County defined an urban development boundary in 1988, outside of which the county will not provide infrastructure and density is kept low. Setting this well-defined line minimizes the cost of providing county services, helps prevent sprawl, and protects sensitive environments like the Everglades.
Contact: Robert Usherson, Chief of Metro Planning Section, Department of Planning and Zoning, Miami-Dade County, FL, 305-375-2835, email: email@example.com.
Greenwood Urban Stormwater Control Wetland, Orlando, Florida11
Orlando, population 160,000, receives over 50 inches of rain annually. To improve water quality and protect groundwater/drinking water supplies, Orlando built a series of artificial wetland treatment ponds. The city also enlarged the lake from 4 to 13 acres, installed weirs to maximize stormwater detention, and added a sediment trap to increase pollutant removal at the upstream end of the system. A shallow shelf around the lake provides increased water storage and creates an area for marshes to establish, which further aid in the treatment of stormwater. After construction, monitoring showed that water quality improved above standards. The system, which the city found to be cost-effective, provides flood protection, pretreatment of stormwater, aquifer protection, and irrigation water. Orlando built a natural park with paths and wildlife viewing as part of the project. Economic benefits include an increase in property values and revenues from selling the excavated fill.
Contact: William Chamberlain III, Bureau Chief, Stormwater Utility Bureau, City of Orlando, FL, 407-246-2370. Kevin McCann, Lake Enhancement Coordinator, Stormwater Utility Bureau, City of Orlando, FL, 407-246-2370. Maurice Gioseffi, Public Awareness Specialist, Stormwater Utility Bureau, City of Orlando, FL, 407-246-2370.
Lynne Lake Arms, St. Petersburg, Florida12
The developer built four wet ponds as part of this rental apartment and townhouse development. Units facing a large pond with a fountain rent for $35 per month premium; those facing the three small ponds rent for $15 per month premium.
Contact: Mark Mahaffey, Leasing Agent, Lynne Lake Arms, FL, 813-823-3399.
Woodsong, Shallotte, North Carolina13
This 22.68-acre residential development, built between 1993 and 1997, used conservation design principles such as clustering houses; providing amenities within a seven-minute walk; constructing wetlands, detention ponds, and a spreader/grass and sand filter treatment structure to manage runoff; and designing streets to be 18 feet wide, with inverted crown and piped drain, no sidewalks, and grassed parking areas on either side of the road bed. The developer found that cost savings from the surface stormwater system were equal or more than additional design costs.
Contact: Buddy Milliken, The Milliken Company, Wilmington, NC, 910-763-7991.
Regional Stormwater Treatment System, Tallahassee, Florida14
In 1983, Tallahassee implemented a regional stormwater treatment program to help protect local water resources from runoff in this rapidly developing area. One treatment system includes a detention pond, an intermittent under-drain sand filter, and a three-section artificial marsh. Under normal conditions, the system removes 95 percent suspended solids, 75 percent total nitrogen, and 90 Percent total phosphorous. Marsh pollutant removal is seasonal, with good removal during the growing season but net export of nutrients in the winter.
Contact: John Buss, Director of Stormwater Management, Stormwater Utility, City of Tallahassee, FL, 850-891-6860.
Belle Hall Study, Charleston Harbor Project, Charleston, South Carolina15
To test the water-quality impacts of sprawl versus a more traditional town, the Charleston Harbor Project designed two prototype developments, one representing each style. Scientists and computer modelers evaluated the runoff loadings associated with both designs. Results indicate that on aggregate, the traditional town scenario performed better in all tests. For example, the sprawl pattern produced 43 percent more runoff volume than the town, and sediment loads were three times higher at the sprawl site. Chemical oxygen demand and nutrient loadings were also higher in the sprawl scenario. Furthermore, the study found that the costs to the customer were higher for the sprawl development.
Contact: Elizabeth Blood, Associate Scientist, Jones Ecological Research Center, Newton, GA, 912-734-4706, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Promoting Public Education and Participation
Landscape Management for Homeowners and Professionals
Florida adds almost 1,000 new residents per day to its current population of approximately 14 million, and had over 128,000 housing starts in 1993 alone. Many newcomers, not to mention long-time residents, are unfamiliar with proper landscaping and yard-care practices for Florida's climate and geography. Because of the state's rapid growth and the potential for environmental harm that such growth can cause, the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service (CES) chose to teach Floridians -- both homeowners and landscape professionals -- about the consequences of landscaping decisions and how to minimize environmental impacts by using sound practices.
To this end, the CES created an Environmental Landscape Management (ELM) program in 1991. The central thrust of the ELM program is to encourage people to think of the residential landscape as a system that requires proper design and care. The ELM message spans a wide range of practices: landscape design, plant selection, water conservation measures, fertilization reduction, integrated pest management, recycling of yard waste, and care of turf grass and other vegetation. In 1994, the Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay, and Indian River Lagoon regions developed a related program, the Florida Yards and Neighbors (FYN) program, a combination of ELM and an earlier regional stormwater education program.
The ELM Design Team includes county and state faculty, cooperative extension service agents, master gardener volunteers, and local, county, state, and federal organization and agency staff. These participants, as well as many interested individuals involved in the program, have published nearly 3,000 newspaper articles about environmentally sensitive landscaping across the state and have made more than 800 radio appearances and upward of 600 television appearances. County agents have displayed exhibits at numerous fairs and other outreach functions, and many county offices have sent out hundreds of newsletter issues.
ELM/FYN staff believe that the most important method of communicating their message has been direct educational presentations in workshops, seminars, conferences, and at-home site visits and the like. ELM staff and others associated with the program made 1,737 presentations to residents and landscape professionals in fiscal year 1997, resulting in more than 828,000 customer contacts. In 1998 the ELM/FYN program was expanded to 47 counties, up from 39 in 1997.
The program documented the success of the presentations by conducting a controlled survey of participants' knowledge and activities both before and after the presentations. Based on the surveys, more than half the homeowners who sprayed pesticides adopted environmentally friendly pest management practices after participating in a program. Although only an additional 6 percent of attendees have increased their tolerance threshold for plant damage, an additional 16 percent now spot-treat pest infestations rather than spraying broadly, an additional 18 percent now try to identify pests in their lawns, and an additional 12 percent now choose safer pesticides. The total percentages of individuals using these practices after the presentations ranged from 46 percent for spot-treating infestations to 75 percent for checking lawns for pests.
These same homeowners also changed their fertilizer-use practices. Participants did not reduce the frequency of landscape fertilization, but the survey results reveal that an additional 13 percent now report using slow-release fertilizers, an additional 16 percent now apply no more than 1 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet of lawn, and an additional 23 percent use less fertilizer to reduce growth and decrease pruning. The total percentages after the presentations range from 36 percent for use of 1 pound or less of nitrogen to 74 percent using slow-release fertilizers.
The ELM program has also targeted landscaping professionals for education efforts, since approximately 22 percent of Florida residents use professional services to care for their yards. Surveys conducted before and after presentations to these individuals show significant improvements in pesticide and fertilizer application practices, including a general reduction in frequency of lawn fertilization, an increase in those limiting nitrogen applications to 1 pound per thousand square feet, an increase in those tolerating plant damage, and an increase in those avoiding scheduled spraying for pests and diseases.
In 1997 the ELM received the "Sustainable Florida Award" from Florida Governor Lawton Chiles and the Governor's Council for Sustainable Florida.
As part of that effort to test new ways to convey the ELM/FYN message, the program has worked in southwest Florida with 19 Home Depot chains of garden centers to educate Home Depot employees and to incorporate the ELM message in Home Depot catalogues. The program included FYN's message in 18 to 24 million Home Depot catalogues, training of Home Depot employees, FYN banners in the stores, placement of "shelf talkers" in the stores, and "Florida Friendly" certificates give to employees. The lessons learned from this test program are currently being reviewed prior to the development of a statewide garden center outreach program.
Contact: Christine Kelly-Begazo, Statewide Coordinator, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program, Gainsville, FL, 352-392-7938.
Education to Gain Public Support
Before obtaining its federal stormwater discharge permit in November 1993, Charlotte, North Carolina, population 450,000, began to organize its education efforts. To help gauge citizen attitudes and determine the best way to teach them about stormwater, the city conducted a telephone survey. Of the respondents, 96 percent agreed that protecting water quality should be a high priority, while 62 percent specifically identified control of runoff pollution as a high priority. Half of the respondents were willing to pay $3 per month for stormwater services. Respondents' replies revealed that newspaper, television, and utility bill inserts were the best ways to reach citizens.
With this information, the city defined issues and set objectives. It pulled together a variety of stakeholders: city staff, outside stormwater technicians, public relations consultants, and citizens. This last group participates through a task force, of 20 representatives who review consultants' suggestions and present recommendations about the stormwater program -- services, fees, organization -- to the city council for approval or rejection. Once the program was established, the city appointed a permanent stormwater advisory committee composed of nine citizens defined backgrounds and expertise. This process gives different parts of the community direct access to the development of the stormwater program, and provides the council with proposals that have already been reviewed by community representatives, making it easier for the council to approve proposals it believes sound.
The city and Mecklenburg County, in which Charlotte is located, coordinate their stormwater education efforts through the Water Quality Coalition, which unites the relevant city and county agencies. Through a contract with the city, Mecklenburg County's Environmental Protection Department administers most of the day-to-day stormwater activities. This collaboration is supported by elected officials in both the city and county.
To fund stormwater activities, the Charlotte city council approved adding a users fee to property owners' and residents' monthly water bills; a portion of these revenues supports the $200,000 public education program. Council support for the utility remains strong, as reflected in approval of monthly fee increases primarily to fund actions to fix water quantity and quality problems.
In October 1996, the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners adopted an ambitious creek-use policy statement to make all surface waters in the county clean enough to allow prolonged human contact and recreational activities, and to provide habitat for a variety of aquatic life. A new advisory panel, composed of citizens, local professionals, and city and county staff has developed a multiyear plan proposing a wide variety of runoff control measures. Based on the panel's recommendations, the city has included increased erosion control and stream buffer requirements in the 1999 fiscal year budget.
Consistent with the survey results, the city has arranged for newspaper articles and television and radio news stories about water quality, and included water quality pamphlets in utility bill mailings. The city also distributes a stormwater program newsletter to more than 500 community groups and places stormwater notices on city buses. In the 1996-97 fiscal year, the city reached over 2,700 citizens via 44 educational presentations. Two special workshops presented information about spill prevention to representatives of 95 small businesses and information about bioengineering -- the use of trees and other plants to stabilize streambanks and hillsides -- to 170 designers and interested citizens.
City employees surveying the drainage system and conducting water monitoring activities wear vests bearing the words Charlotte Stormwater in bold letters. These vests provoked neighborhood residents to inquire about what the workers were doing, further increasing awareness of stormwater problems and the stormwater program.
Over the past six years, the city's local stormwater hotline (336-RAIN) has received some 20,000 phone calls concerning water quantity and quality problems. The hotline not only helps the city respond to flooding, spills, and dumping incidents, but also provides a rough indicator of the success of educational efforts. Hotline activity increases significantly after educational materials are mailed. The city also advertises Mecklenburg County's water quality hotline.
In 1996, the Water Quality Coalition, in conjunction with three other North Carolina cities and some businesses, hired professionals to produce a 10-minute video, "Slime Stoppers," which explains stormwater pollution problems and solutions. This video is available through the hotline free of charge, and several hundred copies have been distributed to date.
Contact: Steve Sands, Stormwater Management Engineer, City of Charlotte Stormwater Services, NC, 704-336-7276, email: email@example.com.
Campaign to Establish A Utility
Prince William County, Virginia, a booming suburb of Washington, DC, has $2.2 million annually for stormwater control through a county-wide stormwater utility. This level of stormwater pollution funding is extraordinary in Virginia, and was obtained only after an effective education campaign.
Virginia is a "Dillon Rule" state, where local governments have less leeway than they do elsewhere because the state reserves to itself all powers not expressly granted to municipalities, implied from expressly granted powers, or essential and indispensible. Until the early 1990s, Virginia municipalities had no authority to establish dedicated stormwater funding mechanisms because the state legislature had not expressly granted such authority. However, in 1990, NRDC and other environmental advocates, working with some State legislators, successfully obtained passage of stormwater utility enabling legislation.
Even with the passage of such legislation, it was an uphill battle for Prince William County to obtain a dedicated funding source for its 32 watershed plans, stormwater quality and BMP performance studies, and BMP maintenance crew and equipment. Yet, a broad-scale public education campaign aimed at key local decision makers as well as voters, resulted in a seven-to-one vote by the county board of supervisors in favor of establishing the stormwater utility.
The education process was a two-year effort prior to this "watershed" vote. Workshops were held by the Department of Public Works (DPW) to educate county government staffers from all relevant departments about the needs, benefits, costs, and other issues surrounding the creation of a stormwater utility. The workshops were also used to identify concerns to be resolved prior to the establishment of a utility, and the key people in other departments who would be involved with the management of the utility.
A detailed feasibility study followed the informational workshops. The board of supervisors accepted the study's recommendations and authorized DPW staff to develop the rate structure, policies, and rules for the utility's operation. During this phase (1993), DPW staff made educational presentations to homeowners' associations that supported the utility; at the Occoquan District Town Meeting, where opinion was split; and to local chambers of commerce officials, who remained neutral. In March 1994, the board adopted the ordinance formally establishing the utility. The base rate for a single-family home is $1.50 per month, or $18 per year.
One reason for the strong support from homeowners' associations for the utility is the DPW's commitment to maintain all drainage systems and stormwater management facilities in residential areas. The county also maintains dry detention stormwater facilities at all nonresidential properties. (DPW maintains a total of 300 facilities.) As incentives for stormwater pollution prevention and treatment actions, fee adjustments of 10 percent to 50 percent are offered to nonresidential property owners in exchange for their provision of private, on-site stormwater treatment facilities, as well as for participation in pollution prevention programs.
Contact: Madan Mohan, Engineer, Prince William County, VA, 703-792-6820, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water-Wise Gardener Program
One key to success for a municipal stormwater educational program is to ensure that citizens take what they learn and put it into action by changing their behavior. The Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) has accomplished just that through its innovative gardener education program.
VCE developed the Water Wiser Gardener program and presented it through eight lectures with an average attendance of 30 to 50 persons. VCE encouraged those attendees who demonstrated interest in environmentally sound lawn care to enroll their homesteads as a volunteer lawns. Participating homeowners then agreed in writing to implement a variety of recommended practices, and to keep a log of landscape activities over the course of at least one full year. To support their fledgling efforts, the program assigned to each volunteer lawn participant a personal Master Gardener, also a volunteer, with prior training in alternative lawn- and garden-care techniques. The Master Gardener visited the homeowner at least once, and also set aside a regular time during which the homeowner could call with questions.
Homeowners who successfully complete one year as a volunteer lawn participant can continue their lawn-care regime and earn the designation of "demonstration lawn," allowing them to place a sign on the property. Homeowners may also undergo additional training and become Master Gardeners themselves.
The structured nature of this program allowed VCE to monitor changes in knowledge and behavior through surveys. The percentage of participants who tested their soil to see if treatment was necessary, who identified pest problems before using pesticides, who composted leaves, and who dethatched their lawns all increased. As a result of their changed behavior, the over 700 participants have in the aggregate reduced the amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied to their lawns by an estimated 20 tons over the course of five years. They have also implemented an integrated pest management program, though as of yet a benchmark for determining the actual reduction in pesticide usage has not been determined.
Initiated in 1990 with only 15 participants, the program now has 210 participants and more than 700 graduates. Survey results demonstrate satisfaction with the program. Only 42 percent of respondents rated their lawn's appearance as good or better before the program, while more than 84 percent did so after participation. At the same time, over 90 percent of respondents felt that they expended no more effort -- and 40 percent felt that they expended less effort -- under the alternative lawn-care regime. Likewise, over 90 percent felt that they spent no more money -- and 46 percent felt that they spent less -- under the alternative regime.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension has applied for a grant through the Virginia Department of Water Quality to expand the program to seven counties, anticipating a 53-ton reduction in fertilizer usage over a two-year period.
Contact: Mark Aveni, Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources Environmental Sciences, Prince William County Cooperative Extension Service, VA, 703-792-6285, email: email@example.com.
Southface Energy and Environment Resource Center, Atlanta, Georgia20
As part of their ongoing program to provide education and guidance on green development practices, the Southface Center built a demonstration site that also houses their offices. Included in this development are several stormwater management BMPs including porous pavement in the driveway, grass parking spaces, a stormwater retention pond, and xeriscape landscaping. These practices are presented during their tours and trainings on green development.
Contact: Gretchen Gigley, Assistant Program Manager, Southface Energy and Environmental Resource Center, 404-872-3549, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Urban Integrated Pest Management Manual, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service21
Available on the Internet at: http://ipmwww.ncsu.edu/urban/cropsci.htm.
This comprehensive manual, produced in 1996, includes contributions from numerous researchers in the plant, soil, crop, and insect sciences. The manual is designed for municipalities wishing to implement an integrated pest management program. It covers topics including landscaping to minimize pests, alternatives to chemical control, landscaping to protect water quality, lawn-care tips, and pest identification and information.
Contact: Mike Linker, IPM Coordinator, North Carolina State University, 919-515-5644.
RiverLink 1998, Asheville, North Carolina22
French Broad River Foundation and Asheville Chamber of Commerce united to form RiverLink in 1998. RiverLink aims to improve water quality, increase river access, and revitalize the riverfront as a tourist destination by building a greenway, enhancing wetlands, and acquiring land along the river. Volunteers monitor water quality. In cooperation with the project, Asheville built 300 new affordable houses nearby.
Contact: Karen Cragnolin, RiverLink, NC, 828-252-8474, email: RiverLink@buncombe.main.nc.us.
Controlling Construction Site Runoff
Chattanooga's erosion control program has three components: the erosion control requirements themselves, contractor education, and enforcement. Existing federal regulations require erosion control permits and prevention plans for construction sites of 5 acres or more, although proposed new federal regulations will extend the regime to most sites covering 1 acre or more. Chattanooga, however, has concluded that smaller sites are as likely to cause erosion problems as large sites, if not more so. As a result, Chattanooga's ordinance sets no lower boundary for coverage under its program. Aside from some exceptions for home gardening and landscaping, construction of individual single-family homes and the like, those engaged in land-disturbing activities on sites of any size must obtain a city land disturbance permit and provide an erosion control plan before beginning work. Even those engaged in the excepted activities must follow the requirements of the ordinance, although they need not obtain a permit and file a plan.
The ordinance requires erosion and sediment control measures to be functional before activity begins, and to be maintained throughout construction. Clearing and grubbing must be kept to the minimum necessary for grading and equipment operation. Any disturbed area that is planned to remain idle for more than 30 days must be stabilized with seven days of disturbance. When work is completed, the owner must make sure that the site is as erosion-free as practicable, establishing permanent vegetative cover where no other permanent stabilization technique has been used. All measures must be checked weekly in dry periods, within 24 hours after a half-inch of rainfall in a 24 hour period, and daily during prolonged rainfall.
The city's public works staff found that getting contractors to comply with these standards has been difficult, and has taken a two-pronged approach to improving compliance. First, Chattanooga developed education programs targeted towards contractors. Initially, the city tried on-site training sessions. But when these sessions did not produce significant improvement, the city revised its program. Private sector and city government personnel involved in land development now may sign up for the Erosion Control School, which is cosponsored by the city and the Chattanooga Home Builders' Association. In a free four-hour session, the attendees learn the city's requirements, as well as cost-effective ways to meet those requirements. Tests before and after the course measure learning, and those who pass the second test receive a certification card. The school has certified over 185 developers in three years. The city intends to eventually make the certification program mandatory for all contractors.
Second, Chattanooga developed a strong enforcement program. A local ordinance allows fines of $500 to $5,000 per day for violation. The city conducted an aggressive inspection program. In the 1996-97 fiscal year, the city conducted 2,211 site investigations while issuing only 388 land disturbance permits. For the most part, the city prefers to work with developers to show them how to achieve compliance, and only takes the repeat offenders to court. The possibility of punishment creates a strong incentive for those involved in land-clearing activities to attend the Erosion Control School. The Chattanooga Home Builders' Association has received a very positive response from builders who've attended the class.
While the education and enforcement programs have led to greater compliance, Chattanooga just recently implemented a water quality monitoring program to evaluate the environmental success of the erosion control program. The state Department of Environmental Conservation expects good results and is working with the city to develop a statewide program.
Contact: J. Douglas Fritz, Water Quality Coordinator, City of Chattanooga Stormwater Management, 423-757-0013, email: email@example.com.
Enforcement at Construction Sites
Together with Mecklenburg County in a coordinated program, Charlotte, North Carolina, seeks to ensure that construction site permits and site plans are well written, and that contractors and municipal officials alike are educated and trained. However, the key to compliance, they have found, is a priority on enforcing these requirements: conducting site inspections, staffing a citizen complaint hotline, and cracking down on violators. Charlotte's site inspection and enforcement team has a staff of eight inspectors and two administrative support people.
When a site operator or developer applies for a grading permit, the first step is the collection of a permit fee. Then, inspectors hold a preconstruction meeting with the operator. A 1990 statewide survey of erosion control administrators in North Carolina found that preconstruction conferences led to a 15 percent better maintenance compliance rate compared to sites where no meeting was held.
After a grading permit is issued, inspectors conduct weekly to biweekly inspections for each construction site of 1 acre and up. When they spot violations, they send notices of violation. These give operators two to seven days to correct the problem. After the deadline, inspectors revisit the site, and if the problem has not been addressed, and particularly where there is a possibility of off-site sediment pollution, they issue a "continuing NOV." Fines range from $250 to $500 depending on whether there has been off-site sedimentation. Inspectors have collected fines of $15,000 to $20,000 per year.
The Mecklenburg County Adopt-a-Stream program supplements govern- ment inspections. Groups walk streams with sediment problems to find pollution sources. In some cases, citizens were able to spot problems that had escaped the eye of inspectors.
The inspectors are not unreasonable, however, so there is less resistence than there might be otherwise. For example, stormwater and sediment basins must be designed to hold the 10-year frequency rainstorm; if a larger storm causes pollution off-site, it is regarded as an "act of God," for which the enforcement is lighter.
Contact: John Geer, Erosion Control Administrator, City of Charlotte, NC, 704-336-7246.
"They'll come down hard on you if you don't learn how to do it right the first time," says local developer Hayden McMahon, who points to the sediment pond (sediment collection basin) as probably the single most effective element of the city's program. Sediment control "gets expensive real quick if you don't learn how to do it right, and sometimes costs more than it should, but overall they do a good job," notes McMahon. Regarding revegetation, he adds, "Summers are very hot here, and in July and August, if you put out seed and don't irrigate it, it won't grow. In the spring and fall, inspectors lean hard on us to reseed because the seeds will grow then, and it rains more."
Detecting and Eliminating Improper or Illegal Connections and Discharges
Water-Quality Monitoring and Industrial/Commercial Permitting
Chattanooga's stormwater permit required it to monitor water quality at points where municipal stormwater systems drain into waterbodies to find illicit connections and discharges to the storm sewer system. In 1996, the city chose to contract with a team of professors at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley Authority to perform monitoring. The team uses graduate students to perform much of the actual sampling. As a result, the city receives the benefit of knowledgeable but relatively inexpensive labor, and the graduate students receive useful experience.
This cooperative arrangement saved Chattanooga an estimated $65,000, providing monitoring and a report for approximately $135,000, including GIS. The university team samples water at 50 sites in small tributaries in the city twice a year, including both wet and dry sampling. These sites are tested for fecal coliform, oxygen demand, suspended solids, phosphorous, ammonia, pH, temperature, and various chemicals. Fifty additional sites are tested for fecal coliform only. The monitoring program also includes biological surveys on six streams on smaller watersheds.
Chattanooga's industrial and commercial stormwater pollution program is comprehensive. Chattanooga requires Facility Pollution Prevention Plan permits for all industrial and commercial facilities with more than 3,400 square feet of impervious surface or with more than six parking spaces and for land disturbance projects. Before permits are issued, the SMD works with facilities to develop pollution prevention plans required for the permits. Once the permit is issued, if an inspector determines that a facility is not complying with the permit, the first response is to try to educate the responsible persons at the facility with brochures and other informational materials. After these discussions, an inspector returns at a later date to verify compliance. If necessary, fines of up to $500 per day are possible. The program has issued over 1,300 permits since 1994.
Contact: J. Douglas Fritz, Water Quality Coordinator, City of Chattanooga Stormwater Management, 423-757-0013, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storm Drainage Mapping on a Shoestring
Arlington County, Virginia, needed a complete map of its 340 miles of storm sewers, culverts, and streams to identify illicit hookups and dry-weather discharges, and to perform outfall sampling. In 1995, after six years of work, Arlington County produce a 500-page, 1"=50' scale, field-checked map series showing every storm sewer, outfall, and catchbasin in the county, all on a shoestring budget of $78,000. By 1998, the paper maps were digitized into a GIS system and were in the process of being published in a 125-page 1"=100" scale map book on a minimal budget of $68,000.
The county found existing engineering drawings for county and state streets, private development sites, Metro stations and tunnels, federal facilities, and more to be the most accessible source maps. Virtually none were as-built plans they showed design information only. In order to field-check the information, after the paper maps were finished, planners had interns do initial surveys by car of every manhole and catchbasin. Unfortunately, the planners found that the base maps on which they had relied were full of errors, so the paper maps had to be converted. They now recommend that others send out a crew to locate and verify catchbasins before commencing work in the map room. From 1995 to 1998, a digitizer joined the team to transfer the maps into an ARC-INFO geographic information system.
Arlington County found these maps extremely helpful once completed, allowing better environmental response and cost savings. In the spring of 1998 for example, a retaining wall along Interstate 66 broke and breached a sanitary sewer pipe, causing a huge raw sewage spill. Public health officials needed to know -- fast -- where it was going. The stormwater maps were critical in discovering where the spill would go, allowing a better response. In a June 1998 incident in Crystal City, a heating oil storage tank overflowed into a nearby gutter. Spill response officers used the maps to track the spill to the outfall where it had entered the receiving waters.
The computerized maps offer another advantage. After a recent cave-in of a single storm sewer pipe -- costing $100,000 to repair, half of the Public Works maintenance budget -- planners were able to collect the data needed to prioritize pipes for rehabilitation and replacement by searching for all pipes greater than 36 inches in diameter, more than 50 years old, and made of corrugated steel or terra cotta.
Contact: Allan Rowley, Water, Sewer and Streets Division, Arlington County, VA, 703-228-6542, email: email@example.com.
Alabama Water Watch Monitoring, Birmingham, Alabama27
In 1998 the Alabama Water Watch Association and the Birmingham Stormwater Management Authority forged a partnership to train volunteers to help identify and detect illicit discharges by monitoring the city's 158 critical screening sites and outfalls.
Contact: Dr. William Deutsch, Program Director, Alabama Water Watch, 888-844-4785, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illicit Discharge Control Program, Miami, Florida28
In 1996, Miami implemented a case study of their illicit discharge control progra in a portion of Wagner Creek, the tributary of the Miami River with the worst water quality. The program includes system cleaning and maintenance to enable television inspection; field screening and sampling for dry weather flows; investigation of potential illicit discharges and connections at priority sites; pollutant tracing; spill prevention and response; and a public-awareness and reporting program.
Contact: Hector Badia, City of Miami Public Works Department, FL, 305-416-1200.
Atlanta Regional Stormwater Sampling Program, Atlanta Regional Commission, Georgia29
Date: 1994 to present. In 1994, 21 governments in the Atlanta region established this program to meet stormwater monitoring requirements in a cooperative and coordinated way. The aim of this approach is to help unify sampling efforts, reduce costs to municipalities, produce more comprehensive results, and ensure technical integrity.
Contact: Pat Stevens, Environmental Planning, Atlanta Regional Commission, GA, 404-463-3255, email: email@example.com.
Illicit Discharge Field Screening, Atlanta, Georgia30
Since 1995, the city of Atlanta has performed field screening of storm sewer outfalls to identify dry-weather flows, illicit connections, and improper disposals to storm sewers. The city screens no less than 99 sites per year for phenols, copper, detergents, pH, chlorine, color, odor, turbidity, oil sheen, surface scum, and flow.
Contact: Richard I. Chime, City Storm Drainage Engineer, Department of Public Works, City of Atlanta, GA, 404-330-6249, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Industrial Inspection and Control Program, Shreveport, Louisiana31
In 1997, Shreveport implemented an industrial and high-risk inspection and monitoring program to identify illicit discharges and connections. As part of the program, city agents incorporated stormwater review into the Industrial Pretreatment program, and developed a database for tracking compliance with stormwater regulations. As of 1997, the database identified about 450 facilities as possibly needing stormwater permits.
Contact: Ali Mustapha, Assistant City Engineer for Water Resources, Public Works Department, DOS-Engineering, LA, 318-673-6035, email: email@example.com.
Implementing Pollution Prevention for Municipal Operations
Protecting a Region's Lakes
People may think Orlando is famous only for Disney World, but in fact the city is known for its long history of stormwater management, and received EPA's stormwater award in 1990. Orlando has extensive data concerning the performance of stormwater controls in the area, which is characterized by heavy rains, flat topography, high groundwater, and highly percolating sandy soils. The infiltrating water recharges the Floridian Aquifer, the major drinking supply for most of central Florida.
Orlando has 85 lakes located within its boundaries. Up until the mid-1970s, it was common practice for storm sewers to convey untreated stormwater runoff directly to the lakes. When the adverse impacts to the lakes became more apparent, the city decided to address stormwater quality.
In the early 1980s, the Orlando established the Urban Stormwater Management Program to address the increasing stormwater quality and quantity problems associated with new development. This program is carried out by three bureaus within the Public Works: Engineering/Streets & Drainage, Project Management, and Stormwater Utility. This collaboration helps increase the programs' overall effectiveness. The city sponsored a lake assessment study in 1983 in response to residents' complaints of deteriorating water quality. As one component of the study, Orlando developed a prioritized list of lakes needing remediation assistance. In 1984, the city became one of the first municipalities in the state to require both retention and detention facilities as a requirement for development. The city funds its stormwater programs through a stormwater utility. The current utility fee is $66 per single-family residence per year and supports 90 percent of the overall budget.
To protect its water resources, the utility administers an effective stormwater BMP program that includes street sweeping, retention/detention ponds, lake revegetation, pollution-control devices, and other site specific stormwater projects. Performance standards in the local stormwater management manual suggest that the average annual suspended solids loadings should be reduced by 80 percent. The city monitors water quality in the lakes to assess program effectiveness, and numerous research projects have been conducted there.
The city saw street sweeping as a simple, yet extremely effective BMP. Sediments and associated pollutants are swept up along with leaves, grass clippings, and garbage. Orlando sweeps over 40,000 curb miles per year and collects over 27,000 cubic yards of material.
To augment this program, the city installed over 250 pollution-control devices at the ends of stormwater outfall pipes to screen out even more trash before it enters a lake. These structures require consistent maintenance, yet they are very effective at keeping huge amounts of debris out of the lakes.
The city also has an active Public Awareness Program. The stormwater utility has developed several flyers and brochures that address stormwater runoff and how to minimize its impact on our lakes. Staff enjoy making presentations at neighborhood meetings, as well as setting up displays at community picnics and environmental events such as Earth Day Celebrations. The city has also placed information for the public on their Web page (www.ci.orlando.fl.us/stormwaterutility).
While these programs have proven effective at preventing additional contamination of the lakes, many local waterbodies continue to suffer the effects of pollutants from decades of earlier development. To address this issue, the city implemented a lake revegetation program to help remove excess nutrients in 45 of the city's lakes. To date, more than 22 miles of public shorelines have been planted with native aquatic plants. And the city encourages landowners to do the same, developing the "Urban Lake Enhancement" brochure, for instance, to help them replant their own private shorelines. The city also provides technical assistance to landowners who request it. The city's shoreline revegetation program has been successful both environmentally and in building community appreciation.
Orlando installed the Clear Lake Packed Bed Wetland Filter System in response to declining water quality in this 360-acre lake. Constructed within the constraints of limited land availability, the system consists of a wet detention pond to hold the first flush of stormwater, and 10 filter beds composed of concrete and granite media, with various combinations of wetlands plants. The state's Stormwater Demonstration Grant Program and the city's stormwater utility funded this $917,464 project.
Utility staff monitor water quality in the 10 beds to determine the overall effectiveness of the entire system, and to measure the treatment efficiencies of the various combinations of bed media and wetlands plants. Analysis of the individual beds demonstrated consistent removal of various stormwater pollutants. The overall pollutant load reduction is summarized in the table "Pollutant Load Reduction."
Contact: William Chamberlain III, Bureau Chief, Stormwater Utility Bureau, City of Orlando, FL, 407-246-2370, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|POLLUTANT LOAD REDUCTION|
|Parameter||Percent Removal||Parameter||Percent Removal||Parameter||Percent Removal|
|Cadmium||80||Total Nitrogen||63||Total Phosphorus||82|
Environmentally Friendly Golf Course
In 1996, the city of Springfield, Tennessee, approximately 20 miles north of Nashville, opened its municipal golf course, the Legacy. The 18-hole course covers 167 acres of the 360-acre site. The remaining property is under development as a 190-lot residential community. The natural beauty of the site impressed golf course designer Raymond Floyd and the City of Springfield, and they worked to maintain a low-impact approach from project conception through operations.
The course design helps divert runoff out of nearby waterways. Since trees provide stormwater benefits by absorbing rainfall and stabilizing soil, very few were removed during construction. Through an innovative program where local residents buy living Christmas trees and then donate them after the holiday to the golf course, the course is adding additional trees. An uncultivated natural buffer of at least 3 feet in width surrounds all the waterbodies -- even on the greens -- and 25-foot no-spray zones in turn surround these buffer zones, which provide biofiltration. The 11 ponds on site serve not only as water hazards, but also as detention facilities, regulating flow and allowing pollutants to settle out, and as sources of irrigation water. A drainage basin of 1,000 acres, including all but 5 acres of the site, drains into the course's ponds. Except in heavy storms, all water is retained in the ponds on site. Even the excess flow from heavy storms that cannot be retained on site must pass through several ponds before leaving the course.
Increasing the degree of concern about water quality on the site is the fact that the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control has declared a sinkhole on the site to be a regulated injection well, since the water entering the sinkhole goes directly into the groundwater. The golf course has taken a number of steps to protect this feature, including placing stone riprap and planting cattails and willows to stabilize its edge, and is now in compliance with the division's standards. Water in the irrigation ponds and groundwater are tested annually for pesticide contamination and have shown trace amounts well below permit limits.
Operationally, the course uses an integrated pest management (IPM) program. Rather than spraying pesticides on a regular basis, course managers carefully scout the course and monitor the condition of the turf to insure that there are in fact pests to be exterminated. This monitoring is very thorough, to the extent that staff watch for spots where there is no dew in the early morning, indicating dry spots on the course where late afternoon watering should be targeted. Even where there are weeds or disease, there are thresholds for infestation before pesticide application. Finally, course mangers use pesticide alternatives such as beneficial bacteria, microbes and humic acid, and other humate products as much as possible. Only rarely does the course use restricted-use pesticides. In 1998 the Legacy used insecticides just twice in comparison to six to eight times for other courses in the area. The course currently uses 75 percent organic or slow-release fertilizers, with additional liquid fertilizer if necessary. The course has won the Golf Course Supervisors Association of America Regional Environmental Steward Award for 1997 and 1998.
Course managers are certain that the turf management approach used at the Legacy is saving the course money. Expenditures for both pesticides and fertilizers have fallen. While the organic fertilizers used are more expensive than some other products, they dramatically improve the soils, adding necessary tilth and humate to the heavy clay soils on the course.
Much of the sound environmental management at Legacy follows the inspiration of course manager Wendell Nealon. The course engages in a number of other environmentally helpful practices, from recycling materials to building homes for bats and birds on the course. Nealon's staffers have followed his lead and now offer ideas for making the course more environmentally friendly. In addtion, Nealon educates the owners of the residential lots about how to minimize impacts on the natural landscape during construction and on IPM practices. So far, 30 percent of the lots have been developed. The course effectively operates as a separate municipal department, and Nealon has had the support of a "very understanding" mayor, city council, and town manager. Recognizing that the course is getting lots of attention, they have funded application fees for award competitions the course has entered.
Contact: Wendell Nealon, Manager, Legacy Golf Course, 615-384-4653.
Periphyton Filtration System, Orlando, Florida34
The City of Orlando installed a periphyton water garden in Wade View Park as part of their stormwater management program. The water garden uses a naturally occurring attached algal mat to remove nutrients, metals, and other contaminates from stormwater runoff. Removal efficiencies are reported to be 100 to 1,000 times greater then wetlands. The water garden is also a popular public amenity. According to designers, the capital cost of the pariphyton garden is approximately the same as alum treatment. It also avoids the dramatic clearing of the water column associated with alum. Furthermore, the algea can be harvested and combined with recycled newsprint in the production of biodegradable inner packaging products. This can provide a steady revenue stream.
Contact: Kevin McCann, Lake Enhancement Coordinator, Stormwater Utility Bureau, City of Orlando, FL, 407-246-2370.
Floatable Removal, Cocoa Beach, Florida35
Cocoa Beach developed an innovative insert for catchbasins that makes floatable removal more effective and easy; it is now a one-person, one-pickup truck job. Twice per month, stormwater crews inspect and clean as necessary all 760 stormwater drains in Cocoa Beach. Sediment-clogged storm lines are cleaned on a schedule using a vacCON truck with a jet hose and vacuum.
Contact: Joanie Regan, Stormwater Manager, City of Cocoa Beach, Stormwater Department, FL, 407-868-3292, email: email@example.com.
1. Urban Land Institute, "Magdalene Reserve," Project Reference File, October–December 1994, vol. 24, no. 20; Levin, T., Ekistics Design Studio, personal communication, September 23, 1997.
2. Sonnenberg, S., personal communication, May 12, 1997.
3. Bateman, M., E. H. Livingston, and J. Cox., Overview of urban Retrofit Opportunities in Florida., Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee, Florida, 1998; England, G., "Maintenance of Stormwater Retrofit Projects," proceedings of Fifth Biennial Stormwater Research Conference, Southwest Florida Watershed Management District, Brooksville, Florida, 1997, pp. 169–177.
4. Terrene Institute, "Land Development Provisions to Protect Georgia Water Quality," Nonpoint Source News-Notes, November 1998, issue no. 54, pp. 9.
5. Bateman, M., E. H. Livingston, and J. Cox., Overview of Urban Retrofit Opportunities in Florida., Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee, Florida, 1998; Camp, Dresser, and McKee., Final Report on the City of Oakland Park Stormwater Demonstration Grant Project., submitted to Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Stormwater/NPS Management Section, Tallahassee, Florida, 1995.
6. Bell, W. and P. C. Champagne., "Targets of Opportunity: Alexandria's Urban Retrofit Program," presented at the National Conference on Retrofit Opportunities for Water Resource Protection in Urban Environments, Chicago, February 1998, 10 pp.
7. Schueler, T. R., "Technical Note 2: Level Spreader/Filter Strip System Assessed in Virginia," Watershed Protection Techniques., vol. 1, no. 1, February 1994., pp. 11–12.
8. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, A Better Way to Grow, p. 31.
10. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Guidance Specifying Management Measured for Sources of Nonpoint Pollution in Coastal Waters, 840-B-92-002, January 1993, pp. 4–45.
11. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, President Clinton's Clean Water Initiative: Analysis of Benefits and Costs, p. 20; Chamberlin, W. II., "Best Management Practices at the City of Orlando's Stormwater Utility." Florida Association of Stormwater Utilities Newsletter, January 1996.
12. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Economic Benefits, pp. 2, 10.
13. The Milliken Company, Summary of Proposed Stormwater Management Techniques for The Village of Woodsong, March, 1997.
14. Livingston, E., "Use of Wetlands for Urban Stormwater Management," Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
15. Blood, R., et al, "An Evaluation of Traditional Sprawl and Neotraditional Town Center Urban Development in Coastal South Carolina," draft, February, 1998; South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, "Getting a Rein on Runoff: How Sprawl and the Traditional Town Compare," SCCCL Land Development Bulletin, no. 7, Fall, 1995, pp. 1–8.
16. Knox, G. W., Highlights from the FY97 Report of Accomplishment for FL114—Environmental Landscape Management, unpublished report, undated; Gary W. Knox, et al, Environmental Landscape Management: Use of Practices by Florida Consumers, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin 307, September 1995; University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service; Knox, G. W., et al, Environmental Landscape Management: Assessing Practices Among Commercial Groups, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin 306, May 1995; University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service; University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Award Application submitted to Governor's Council for Sustainable Florida, undated.
17. Schumacher, J. W., and R. F. Grimes, "A Model Public Education Process for Stormwater Management," Public Works, September 1992, vol. 123, no. 10, pp. 55–58; City of Charlotte, Annual Report, July 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Municipal Storm Sewer System Storm Water Discharge Permit, August 22, 1997; Schumacher, J. W., City of Charlotte, personal communication, October 27, 1997.
18. Mohan, M., Engineer, and O. Guzman, Watershed Management Division Chief, Dept. of Public Works, Prince William County, Virginia. Mohan, M., personal communication and site tour, May 8, 1997; Pasquel, F. and R. Brawley, CH2M Hill, and O. Guzman and M. Mohan, Prince William County, "Funding Mechanisms for a Watershed Management Program." undated paper; U.S. EPA, Storm Water Utilities: Innovative Financing for Storm Water Management, draft final report, prepared for Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation, Christine Ruf, project officer, by Amy Doll, Apogee Research, Inc., March 1992.
19. Aveni, M. T., "The Water Wise Gardener Program: Lessons Learned About Public Education on Water Quality," NWQEP Notes, January 1996; Virginia Cooperative Extension, Summary Data: September 1990–June 1994, unpublished tables, July 20, 1994.
20. Michael Andreyuk, Southface Energy and Environmental Resource Center, personal communication, July 17, 1998.
21. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Integrated Pest Management for Municipalities Web page: http://ipmwww.ncsu.edu/urban/cropsci.htm.
22. American Rivers, 1997 Urban Hometown River Awards factsheets, 1997.
23. Fritz, J. D., City of Chattanooga Department of Public Works, personal communication, December 15, 1997; City of Chattanooga Ordinance No. 9942, as amended by City of Chattanooga Ordinance No. 10111; J. B. Collins, "In Williams' Court, Stormwater Violators Are Getting Soaked," Chattanooga Free Press, March 24, 1994; Tom Scott, "City Preaches, Practices Stormwater Management," American City & County, September 1996, p. 42; Marcia Lillich, "Keeping Topsoil in its Place: A Dirty Job for Builders," Envirolink, 1996, no. 23.
24. Geer, J., City of Charlotte, personal communication, November 2, 1998; McMahon, H., Charlotte developer, personal communication, November 10, 1998; North Carolina survey results from: Robert Paterson of the University of Texas at Austin, writing in the Fall 1994 issue of Watershed Protection Techniques; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Engineering Department's 1997 Subdivision Land Development Site Review Checklist; Erosion Control Notes. Internet site: http://charmeck:nc:us/ciengr/land/subdiv97.htm; Bryant, R., Sierra Club-Charlotte, personal communication, December 30, 1998.
25. Fritz, J. D., City of Chattanooga Department of Public Works, personal communication, December 15, 1997; Cavanagh, S. "Council to Discuss Study of Streams," The Chattanooga Times, November,1997; City of Chattanooga City Council Resolution No. 21597, November 25, 1997; City of Chattanooga City Council Resolution No. 21598, November 25, 1997 City of Chattanooga City Council Resolution No. 21599, November 25, 1997.
26. Frost, B., "Mapping the Arlington County Storm Sewers," unpublished manuscript, 1993; Frost, B., City of Arlington, personal communication, August and September, 1998.
27. Newell, A., Alabama Water Watch, personal communication, September 13, 1998.
28. Vilar, F., and H. Badia, "The City of Miami's Illicit Discharge Control Program for the Wagner Creek Sub-Basin Area," FASU Stormwater Factsheets Online!, April 1996.
29. Atlanta Regional Commission., Atlanta Regional Stormwater Sampling Program Annual Report, June 1995.
30. City of Atlanta, City of Atlanta 1995 Annual Report: Stormwater NPDES Permit, June 1995.
31. City of Shreveport, Louisiana Public Works Department, NPDES Permit Annual Report, May 1997.
32. Chamberlin, W., "Best Management Practices at the City of Orlando's Stormwater Utility.," FASU Factsheets Online! January, 1996; Bateman, M., E. H. Livingston, E. H. and J. Cox., "Overview of Urban Retrofit Opportunities in Florida," Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Stormwater Management Program, Tallahassee, Florida, 18 pp. Includes Urban Stormwater Retrofitting Project Fact Sheets: "Lake Greenwood Urban Wetland, City of Orlando Stormwater Utility" and "Packed Bed Wetland Filter System, City of Orlando Stormwater Utility"; Pitt, R. Stormwater Quality Management., CFR Press, forthcoming 1999; Pitt, R., Moffa and Associates, and SAVIN Engineers, "Assessment of Decision Criteria used to Determine Benefits of CSO/SSO/SW Investments," forthcoming 1999.
33. "The 1998 Environmental Steward Awards: Regional Winners," Golf Course Management, February 1998, vol. 66 no. 2, pp. 84, 86; "The 1997 Environmental Steward Awards: Regional Winners," Golf Course Management, February 1997, vol. 65 no. 2, pp. 80, 84; telephone interview with Wendell Nealon, The Legacy Golf Course, April 24, 1998.
34. Jensen, K., Science Applications International Corporation, personal communication, October 19, 1998.
35. Billias, C., R. Verma, and R. Watson, "Removal of Floating Debris: An Economical Solution for Curbed Inlets." Florida Association of Stormwater Utilities Newsletter, May 1996.
Sign up for NRDC's online newsletter
Water on Switchboard
NRDC experts write about water efficiency, green infrastructure and climate on the NRDC blog.
Recent Water Posts
- The Clean Water Act -- 42 Birthday Candles and Half a Million Americans Who Support It
- posted by Jon Devine, 10/22/14
- Groundwater experts, water law experts, and conservation groups tell the Forest Service to do more to protect groundwater
- posted by Marcus Griswold, 10/14/14
- New Jersey Water Infrastructure Funds: An Opportunity to Make Communities More Resilient
- posted by Ben Chou, 10/9/14
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.