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New standards approved for stormwater runoff

By Grace Lovins


An amendment to Birmingham’s stormwater runoff and separate storm sewer systems ordinance was approved by the city commission on Monday, May 22. adopting new standards set by the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner (OCWRC) and reducing the allowable discharge rate for stormwater runoff.


As explained by city engineer Melissa Coatta, the commission had voted to adopt an amendment to the city’s ordinance for Division 5, which covers separate storm sewer systems, to adopt the OCWRC’s standards for properties in the city’s separate storm system areas in October of 2022.


Since that meeting, city staff has reviewed the city’s current ordinance for stormwater runoff and is recommending some amendments to the code as it hadn’t been updated since 1963. Coatta included in the meeting packet three recommendations for amendments that city staff had developed.


The first of the amendments was to Division 4 of the ordinance which covers stormwater runoff. Staff recommended adding a category to the code that covers parcels smaller than .5 acres and a category for parcels greater than .5 acres. For parcels greater than .5 acres, staff recommended adopting the OCWRC standards, which incorporate best management practices and low impact design.


The additional amendments applied to Division 5 of the ordinance that covers the separate storm sewer system. The last amendment to this ordinance was at the October 2022 meeting, but Coatta included in the packet that the amendment would allow the standards in the previous amendment to cover parcels greater than .5 acre rather than one acre.


After an extremely lengthy meeting, beginning discussions of the item at 2 a.m., the commission had little discussion and decided to move forward with adopting the ordinance amendments in a unanimous 7-0 vote.

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