Danville storm water cleanup will be costly

December 09, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

It will cost Danville $150,000 more a year to comply with federal rules to keep rain water free of pollutants, like paint and fertilizer, and to begin construction on a system that will control flooding.

Commissioners also learned that the total cost to fix drainage problems in the city will be $11 million.

Consultants and a resident advisory committee suggested Monday that the city create a storm water utility and charge households about $4 a month, businesses by lot size and amount of blacktop, to raise the money for the improvements.

The group of about 62 residents worked for 10 months to write the plan. A report about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rules and three proposed city ordinances will be inserted into newspapers Sunday.

Two of the ordinances will mostly affect contractors and builders, said Luther Galloway, a project engineer with AGE, a Stanford company. Galloway is a former city engineer.


One ordinance will require the use of sediment ponds, silt fences and rock entrances, so that topsoil from the construction site doesn't erode. A second will require detention basins to prevent flooding and stop erosion.

When it rains, the water picks up loose soil on its way to creeks and lakes. The muddy water blocks sunlight, and so aquatic plants that fish feed on can't grow. The dirt can also clog up culverts and drainage pipes that carry rain to larger bodies of water.

The third ordinance would make it illegal to put pollutants into storm sewers, streams or lakes. Pollutants include soapy water from car washes, sewage, paint and motor oil, which can be toxic. Other pollutants that would be illegal to discharge would be pesticides, which kill insects that aquatic animals eat, and fertilizers that can cause aquatic plants to grow rapidly and choke each other, causing oxygen levels, that fish need to breath, to drop. The city would be able to test water for pollutants and inspect property for illegal connections to the storm water system, then fine violators.

These ordinances will be considered by commissioners in the coming months.

The plan also identifies areas in Danville that have the most flooding problems, and estimates the cost to fix those problems. To correct nuisance flooding would cost $4.4 million, and to correct major elements, bridges and pipes larger than 24 inches, would cost $6.2 million.

The plan outlines the responsibilities of the city and individual property owners to correct drainage problems. A list of priorities for both major and minor problems was included.

The top 10 areas listed for improvement were: Center Court; McGrath Street; Streamland and Silverbrook drives; Silverbrook and Coldstream drives; Bruce Court and Main, Windsor and Williams streets; Rosemont Avenue and Harding Street; Highland Court, near U.S. 127; Walnut Street from Robertson Street to Beech Street; and Factory Road.

Galloway presented several options for the city to pay for the improvements. The committee recommended that a storm water utility tack on a charge to water bills.

Louisville and some utilities in northern Kentucky already have such utilities. Residents there are charged about $4 a month per household, and businesses are charged by lot size and the area that is blacktopped or paved. In Louisville, businesses pay $1.75 per 2,500 square foot of impervious area.

Galloway said that with such a system the city could issue bonds to pay for improvements. Now the city spends about $150,000 from its general fund to improve drainage. Under the new plan, and federal regulations, the cost could rise to about $344,000 a year, Galloway said.

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