Implementing Jurisdictional Stormwater Programs Across Watersheds: Opportunities and Constraints
Stormwater runoff, which conveys particulates and other pollutants from urban impervious surfaces and roadways, is a known contributor to water quality impairments throughout the United States. Large municipal agencies have been regulated under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permits since the 1990’s, requiring implementation of programs to effectively prohibit non-stormwater discharges into MS4s and reduce discharge of pollutants in stormwater. Recent adoption of the 5th term NPDES permit in the San Diego region requires municipal agencies develop watershed-based water quality improvement plans (WQIPs) to guide jurisdictional runoff management programs. For coastal cities with jurisdiction in multiple watersheds, implementation of watershed-specific strategies to address priority pollutants requires a coordinated and sophisticated implementation approach. This session will present a municipal perspective of the opportunities and constraints related to watershed-based implementation of a jurisdictional stormwater program.
The City of San Diego (City) Transportation and Storm Water Department is responsible for urban runoff management within the 330 square mile city limits. The City’s storm water program includes components to: comply with water quality regulations, maintain drainage infrastructure, and enforcement of municipal code and ordinances. Like many municipal entities, the City owns aging MS4 infrastructure, including over 900 miles of MS4 conveyance pipe and more than 70,000 storm water assets, and is faced with limited budget and resources. The City has engaged in a multi-faceted urban runoff management program that includes public education, employee training, water quality monitoring, source identification, code enforcement, watershed management, and Best Management Practices (BMPs) development/implementation. Through a series of pilot projects and planning efforts, the City has also worked to optimize various aspects of current urban runoff management programs to efficiently and cost-effectively implement jurisdictional water quality improvement programs.
By June 2015, it is anticipated that separate watershed-specific WQIPs will be developed for each of the six jurisdictional watershed areas where the City implements its storm water program. Knowledge from decades of urban runoff management program implementation, several optimization pilot studies, and recent asset management planning efforts have assisted the City guide its WQIP planning efforts. While there is significant overlap of priority pollutants and BMP strategies in several of the WQIPs, some watersheds will require unique BMP strategies to address specific priority pollutants. Lessons learned from the City’s BMP pilot studies provide an opportunity to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of programmatic changes across watershed boundaries. Applied examples include inter-departmental coordination efforts, BMP implementation tracking and data management improvements, and watershed stakeholder coordination.
This presentation will identify and explore the opportunities and constraints of a watershed-based municipal storm water program implementation approach. It is anticipated that this talk will be of interest to watershed managers, individuals with municipal storm water program implementation responsibilities, and public and private stakeholders whom may be impacted by watershed-based storm water program implementation efforts.