March 8 – SOUTH WINDSOR – City Council unanimously passed an ordinance late Monday allowing city staff to take action against individuals and businesses who dump waste into storm drain systems.
The proposed order was discussed at meetings throughout the last year and a public hearing was held on February 22.
City Manager Michael Maniscalco said this morning the order would come into effect in 30 days and the Department of Public Works would be responsible for its management and implementation.
WHAT: The ordinance defines illicit discharge as any direct or indirect discharge into stormwater drainage systems that is not composed entirely of stormwater, with a number of exceptions.
HOW: The city monitors water discharged into water bodies through the stormwater outfall as part of the state sewer system permit. If an illicit discharge was discovered, further tests would be carried out to determine its origin.
Director of Public Works Vincent Stetson said programs to detect illegal discharges are already in place, so additional costs will not be incurred unless illegal discharges are discovered.
The ordinance states that those who dump waste could be fined up to $100 per violation per day, but city officials said compliance was the goal and the fine was a last resort.
Residents are unlikely to be directly affected by the ordinance because it primarily affects commercial facilities, but officials said the city will work with anyone who violates the ordinance.
Exempt sources of discharge that primarily affect residents include flushing water lines, watering lawns, washing non-commercial vehicles, dechlorinated swimming pools, and “any other source of water that does not contain pollutants”, indicates the order.
The state permit for the municipal storm sewer system requires municipalities to keep their storm water clean before it enters larger bodies of water through a storm water management plan submitted and approved by the state.
A municipality’s plan should include both public education on how and why to keep stormwater clean and legislation that gives the municipality the legal authority to detect and eliminate illegal spills.
Joseph covers East Hartford and South Windsor. He joined the JI in July 2021. Joseph is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and he is an avid guitarist and coffee enthusiast.