A federal mandate means Warsaw residents will soon seen an increase in their sewage bills for storm water management.
Brian Davison, wastewater utility manager for the city, presented a contract to the Board of Public Works and Safety this morning explaining that the regulations means Warsaw will implement a stormwater utility division.
Under the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Rule 13, which comes from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Storm Water Phase II Rule, municipalities are now required to manage storm water runoff, which is often polluted and discharges into local rivers and streams without treatment. The program is known as an MS4 Storm Water System.
The MS4 program looks to control illicit discharge into waterways. Among the common pollutants that are washed down storm drains with rain water include oil and grease from roadways, pesticides from lawns, sediment from construction sites and even discarded trash such as cigarette butts, paper wrappers and plastic bottles. The pollutants can have adverse affects on waterways by ultimately impacting fish and other aquatic life, wildlife and even contaminating drinking water.
Warsaw has over 2,200 storm drain inlets, according to Davison.
In today’s meeting, the B.O.W. approved a $77,500 contract with Christopher B. Burke Engineering out of Indianapolis to audit the city’s current Rule 13 MS4 program and study the steps to implement a storm water utility.
When a utility is established, the costs to operate the program will be passed on to consumers. Davison said there is currently no way to tell what rates may be for individual and corporate customers. Mayor Joe Thallemer added, “This could be it’s own department separate from Wastewater, or maybe not … but it’s important to note this is a mandate and to be in compliance means fees. There’s no getting around it.”