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Township looks at separate storm sewer system

By Dana Casadei


Bloomfield Township is one step closer to adopting an ordinance that would prohibit non-stormwater discharges from entering the township’s municipal separate storm sewer system after an ordinance introduction at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, June 26. 


At the evening meeting trustees voted unanimously to pass a motion to accept the introduction of the ordinance as part of the township’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.


This ordinance amendment is a required result of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) audit from last fall, which is routine and done regularly with other municipalities as well.


EGLE is also the state department tht authorizes Bloomfield Township to discharge its stormwater that is coming out of the separate storm sewer system program, which the township owns, to surface waters through the state.


A separate storm sewer system program is a system of drainage that is not combined with sewer or treatment plans, such as storm drains and ditches, and transports any drainage that enters into a local body of water, making an ordinance amendment like this key to keeping the water clean.


Corey Almas, P.E., township director of engineering and environmental services – who gave the presentation to the board – was quick to note that everything else from that audit was already completed and this ordinance amendment was the last item.


“The article really gives the township more teeth,” he said. “When someone is depositing illicit [discharges], whether knowingly or unknowingly, it gives us the authority to investigate, to go on to the property, to remediate, to clean up, and also, if it’s being done intentionally, to hold them legally responsible and also to recoup financial costs associated.”


Almas gave multiple examples of what would be considered an illicit discharge, such as the soapy water from a car wash going directly in to a catch basin, or pouring oil right into a storm drain, and said that goes from the storm system right into local waterways. 


The ordinance amendment had three key objectives that Almas discussed. 


The ordinance amendment will regulate the contribution of pollutants to the separate storm sewer system by stormwater discharges by any user; it will prohibit illicit connections and discharges to the separate storm sewer system; and it will be used to establish legal authority to carry out all inspection, surveillance, and monitoring procedures necessary to ensure compliance with this article.


The ordinance will follow required federal and state law to authorize the township to regulate non-stormwater dischargers to the separate storm sewer system to the maximum extent practicable, therefore providing better health and safety to the community. 


It will also establish methods to comply with the requirements of the NPDES permit process by controlling the introduction of pollutants into Bloomfield Township’s separate storm sewer system.


The Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees will consider and possibly adopt the ordinance amendment at their meeting on July 24.

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