EPA visit to focus on city stormwater system

Monday, February 14, 2011 | 1:14 p.m. CST; updated 3:02 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 19, 2011

COLUMBIA — Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be in Columbia this week to review the city stormwater system.

Environmental Services Manager Steve Hunt said the city received a call from the EPA on Feb. 4 about EPA officials' coming to Columbia to audit the system of pipes, drains and ditches it uses to collect and discharge stormwater. The city, county and MU are all party to the same stormwater permit.

The EPA visit marks the "first audit of any sort" of the city stormwater system, Hunt said.

"Two gentlemen from EPA are coming this afternoon," Hunt said Monday morning. "We're having a kickoff meeting with staff. It's my understanding they'll be auditing our program."

When Hunt asked what prompted the audit, the EPA told him it inspects a number of communities in each state every year, and "it was just our turn."

Kris Lancaster, spokesman for EPA Region 7, said it was the EPA's policy not to discuss impending investigations.

On Wednesday, the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition and the Osage Group of the Sierra Club held a citizens' meeting to discuss illegal stormwater discharges into the city's sewer system.

Columbia had 120 sanitary sewage overflows in fiscal 2010. Sewer Utility Manager David Sorell said many of the overflows were due to illegal stormwater discharges.

Stormwater is also the focus of a recent EPA recommendation that the city, county and MU reduce the amount of stormwater flowing into Hinkson Creek by 39.6 percent.

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Paul Allaire February 14, 2011 | 1:28 p.m.

They can have the lawyer write up some more memos for the court. That will fix it for sure! Did the EPA pick today because the ice is melting or did they just want to return the love?

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