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Eureka's Population Sends Storm Water Management to Next Level

Eureka now is expected to meet state and federal regulations for storm water management plans.

Who knew that growing Eureka's population by 189 residents would trigger a whole new level of storm water management requirements?

Eureka Mayor Kevin Coffey told attendees at Thursday's Town Hall Meeting at the Eureka Community Center that the city's most recent population of 10,189 put it at a level that requires documentation and adherence to certain regulations. The good news is that city officials have up to the next couple of years to implement the new plans.

Eureka's Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) application soon will be submitted to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, said City Administrator Craig Sabo; it's due by mid-May.

Eureka's City Engineer Jim Dunajcik, with George Butler Associates, presented an overview of the MS4 regulations at Thursday's meeting, and answered residents' questions.

Dunajcik said the MS4 regulations are all about having clean water and avoiding sedimentation from running into creeks. He said the regulations prompt city officials to define how they will meet a minimum of six control measures, which include the components such as:

  • public education
  • public input and involvement
  • discharge detection and elimination measures
  • controlling construction sites' runoff
  • controlling post-construction runoff
  • pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations.

Eureka encompasses 10.35 square miles, or 6,624 acres. Three water bodies flow through the city limits:  Flat Creek, Fox Creek and the Meramec River.

Dunajcik said city officials decide how many best management practices they will submit. "The practices must be reasonable, measurable, and have a person identified for being responsible for each one."

He said a MS4 permit lasts for five years, and cities then repeat the application process over and over. He said city officials will be expected to submit an annual report to state regulators each year on or before July 28, regarding what progress has been made toward the plan.

The first question from an attendee Thursday evening was about how the new plan would affect homeowners. Dunajcik said it likely would not, because MS4 plans are not retroactive.

Another resident asked about roof runoff, and a third asked about what citizens should do to plan or to prevent storm water-related issues. Dunajcik said every community has room for improvement in this area, and that there will be some added costs to the city, but not directly to residents.

"The first phase of the plan is to make people aware," he said.

He provided the example of informing residents about exactly what happens when they wash their autos outside.

Dunajcik said city staffers and the Board of Aldermen will have to create ordinances for enforcement of the new plan's components.

Coffey said storm water improvement costs typically are born by developers, and that city officials already had been working to improve storm sewers. "We've added inlets as we repaired or had to do construction in areas, particularly in Old Town," he said.

"We've had some sediment problems in the past, due to developers, but we've greatly increased our oversight," said Coffey.

He also said Eureka had a lot of green space, or parks, for filtering water. He cited the intentionally porous parking lot recently established in Berry Park. It has sand underneath it, so the water that runs on it can perculate through and go clean into the soil underneath.

"We are cleaner, brighter than many other cities. There's not pollution in our creeks," said Coffey.

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