Nevada Agrees to Curb Polluted Storm Runoff

     RENO (CN) — The Nevada Department of Transportation has agreed to implement a multimillion-dollar stormwater runoff program and formally end a federal environmental complaint.
     U.S. District Judge Miranda M. Du on Sept. 14 entered final judgment against the state and the consent decree that ended the federal action filed by the federal government and the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in July.
     The Nevada Department of Transportation agreed to implement an enhanced stormwater management plan to curtail pollutants from flowing into lakes, rivers and other water sources, from roads and maintenance yards overseen by the department, according to consent decree.
     The settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection resolves alleged violations involving the department’s Clean Water Act permit for stormwater runoff.
     The parties filed the agreement, formally known as a consent decree, in July. A complaint on the violations, which stem from a 2011 audit by the EPA, was filed at the same time.
     The department has agreed to pay $60,000 each to the EPA and the state’s environmental protection division. It also will publish annual reports on its website and notify the state and federal environmental bodies of its progress.
     Reports are to include quantitative data and qualitative information on corrective actions and their impact on local water quality. They must also identify specific actions taken and their impact on reducing pollution discharge.
     Among specific activities to be undertaken are creating and implementing a stormwater certification program for training workers and a construction site runoff control program for better controlling water and pollution runoff at construction sites.
     The Department of Transportation also will implement a post-construction stormwater management program and require all new developments, redevelopments and encroachment projects to comply with the program’s requirements for managing stormwater.
     Among technical standards to be applied by the post-construction stormwater management program are storm duration and intensity, on-site pollutants, maintainability, and promotion low-impact construction.
     The department also must implement a storm sewer system operation and maintenance program to inspect, clean and maintain storm sewer systems, including roadways, catch basins, storm drains, open channels, washes, culverts, and retention and detention basins.
     Additionally, the department must submit a facility pollution prevention plan that describes maintenance facilities and the process for preventing, inspecting and correcting stormwater runoff wherever needed.
     The agreement also requires the state’s environmental protection division to spend $200,000 to fund upgrades to water-quality monitoring to provide real-time data to the public, implement a public-relations program and develop statewide digital maps displaying where the department discharges stormwater.
     State officials said the department is spending more than $13 million for a new stormwater division with 59 employees and $7.6 million in equipment to control runoff, such as trucks to flush culverts and sweepers.
     The consent decree indicates stormwater improvement projects recently completed or currently under construction in Nevada add up to more than $33 million, with almost $15 million allocated for projects through 2017.

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