The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement of alleged Clean Water Act violations by the City of Huntington, W.Va. In a consent agreement with EPA, the City has agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty, and implement environmental projects to improve water quality in the Ohio River. The projects will have the added benefit of creating green space and reducing flooding in the city.
Huntington operates a “small municipal separate storm sewer system” (or MS4), which is required to have a Clean Water Act permit for the discharge of stormwater. EPA’s complaint alleged that the City violated the terms of the statewide MS4 permit by failing to: identify and address improper discharges to the system; control stormwater from newly developed and redeveloped sites; and, provide employee training in reducing pollution in municipal operations.
In addition to the cash penalty, the City has agreed to complete several environmental projects, at an estimated cost of $84,000, which will improve local environmental conditions and safeguard water quality in the Ohio River. The projects include:
- Removing a large part of an asphalt parking lot and creating more green space in Harris Riverfront Park.
- Installing rain gardens in Harris Riverfront Park, Spring Hill Cemetery, and along the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health.
- Planting 50 urban appropriate trees on 8th Street to reduce runoff pollution in this area which has a history of flooding.
These projects are beneficial to the environment because large portions of impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots in the city channel stormwater directly into local streams, and the Ohio River. Improperly managed stormwater runoff can damage streams, cause significant erosion, and carry excessive nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds, and other pollutants downstream and into the River.
For more information about Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/munic.cfm.