Louisiana stormwater managers set organizational meeting

Richard Bogren, Hendrick, Rodney D.

News Release Distributed 09/11/09

Representatives of Louisiana’s most-active small municipal separate storm sewer systems –called MS4s – have met and agreed to form a self-help coalition to assist participating organizations comply with permit requirements by sharing information, ideas and techniques, according to Dr. Rod Hendrick, a water quality specialist with the LSU AgCenter and coordinator of the coalition.

This will be the first such statewide group in the country, Hendrick said.

The group has scheduled an organizational meeting from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Oct. 9 in the Pineville Main Street Community Center at 708 Main Street in Pineville, La.

“A morning session will focus on developing the organization and its goals along with updates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the stormwater program and total maximum daily loads of pollutants in relationship to MS4 requirements,” Hendrick said.

“Afternoon sessions will be devoted to how to deal with tracking the construction stormwater program, dealing with illicit discharges from food service facilities and other technical issues,” he added.

MS4s must develop and implement stormwater management plans to reduce pollutant loadings to the maximum extent practicable and must investigate and eliminate illegal connections to their storm sewer system, Hendrick said. MS4s are divided into two general categories based on size.

Louisiana has four large MS4s with populations of more than 100,000 and 110 small MS4s, Hendrick said. The small MS4s include metropolitan areas with populations of 100,000 to 10,000 and smaller areas or subdivisions with population densities of 1,000 people per square mile.

Many of the smaller MS4s have joined with larger areas to develop their programs, he added.

“The coalition will promote collaboration among stormwater managers, educators, engineers, landscape architects, planners and regulators to develop solutions that maximize return on their investment of time, effort and funds,” Hendrick said.

It also will give small towns access to effective solutions developed by larger municipalities, he said.

“This network will foster rapid development, distribution and acceptance of custom solutions applicable to Louisiana,” Hendrick said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region VI enforcement division and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will work with the group’s leadership to develop programs and provide guidance on acceptable performance standards, the LSU AgCenter water quality specialist said.

“With its hot, humid climate, long growing seasons, low topographic relief and high annual rainfall with frequent torrential rains, Louisiana has unique conditions not found in other areas of the country,” Hendrick said.

“Hurricanes, storm surges, high rates of coastal subsidence and wetland loss contribute to unique flooding scenarios,” he added. “Having the ability to focus the skills, knowledge and experience of the stormwater managers and engineers statewide on these common problems cannot help but promote the development of innovative solutions more quickly and more effectively.”

One aspect of the coalition will be to collect educational materials, forms and procedures developed by members and governmental agencies, Hendrick said.

“The coalition team evaluation program will be highly beneficial because it will provide members an independent, outside review of their program without fear of penalty,” Hendrick said. “Members of the coalition will be able to request team audits of their programs from other coalition members.

“The team evaluation program will be highly beneficial because it will provide members an independent, outside review of their programs without fear of penalty,” Hendrick added. “Programs inspected by coalition teams and certified complete and in compliance with permit program requirements will be able to demonstrate to their citizens that they are operating in compliance with federal and state rules.”

Rick Bogren

9/11/2009 7:38:33 PM
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