Growing Pains – Stormwater
August 16, 2018
Let’s face it. Pittsburg has growing pains! We are experiencing growth in our City in many areas, and this has led to new opportunities and challenges.
We currently have the opportunity to build a brand new road, leading to a new neighborhood where a private developer plans to build up to 150 new homes for families in Pittsburg.
This kind of growth hasn’t occurred in Pittsburg in decades, and will provide housing stock we desperately need.
Growth often includes changes to the physical landscape of the city – new roads, houses, businesses, and other buildings – and whenever land is disturbed, there are changes in how rainwater flows. To control rainwater runoff, new construction should include plans to regulate stormwater. The goal is to make sure the quantity and quality of the runoff associated with a development does not cause harm to the environment downstream.
The good news is, we aren’t doing this alone. There are professional engineers and environmental specialists that help us along the way.
When it comes to stormwater, we take our direction from the experts – specifically, the EPA and KDHE. Stormwater regulations are set at the federal level with feedback from professional organizations of engineers, contractors, architects and others. These regulations are handed down to the states to implement, and the state creates procedures developers and builders must follow. The developers and builders are responsible for gaining approval from the state and for inspecting their projects on a regular basis. Local jurisdictions (that’s us!) are required to participate by educating local contractors and assisting in ensuring they follow what the state has permitted.
The process is outlined in the following diagram:
If a developer or builder is undertaking a project that will disturb more than one acre of land, they must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the state. The NOI is submitted after the developer or builder finalizes their construction plans, including Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that lists the specific steps the builder will take to control stormwater runoff during and after construction. The state approves the NOI and the SWPPP. If the developer is building within the city limits, then they must also apply for a building permit. The City reviews the building permit and will approve the permit only if it contains the appropriate documentation showing approval has been received from the state.
Developers or their designated contractors are responsible for inspecting and reporting to the state on stormwater mitigation activities during and after construction. The City provides educational materials regarding stormwater management and validates that the developer’s stormwater activities comply with the approved SWPPP during and after construction.
With little significant development in Pittsburg prior to the last few years, the City has been reviewing and modifying our staffing, ordinances and procedures to accommodate substantial growth. This includes zoning, parking, traffic, public safety and other issues as well as stormwater management.
As growth continues, the City will continue to make adjustments that minimize any negative impact on those affected while allowing those willing to invest in our community to move forward as efficiently as possible.