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Kalamazoo, MI, United States

Brian Boyer K.,Kieser and Associates LLC | Kieser M.S.,Kieser and Associates LLC
Journal of Green Building | Year: 2012

Regulation of stormwater runoff is increasing throughout the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies are beginning to move toward effluent and/or load limits for pollutants in stormwater. Compliance costs for treating urban stormwater runoff, especially in highly-developed areas where retrofits are required, will only continue to increase. Western Michigan University (WMU) is a permitted Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) along Arcadia Creek and the West Fork of Portage Creek in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As such, it falls within the nonpoint source (NPS) load allocation for a phosphorus total maximum daily load (TMDL) developed for the Kalamazoo River and Lake Allegan (refer to Figures 1 and 2 for location maps). The Kalamazoo River TMDL was established in 2001 and requires a 50% reduction in total phosphorus (TP) originating from NPSs, using the 1998 load as a baseline. The original timeline outlined in the TMDL set 2009 as the target date for meeting the TP reduction goal. To date, no other MS4s (or any other NPSs) in the watershed have been able to document progress or demonstrate an ability to meet this goal. WMU has employed a unique approach toward resolving their stormwater concerns, which include MS4 permit requirements, TMDL compliance, and flooding. The University's efforts have utilized federal/state grant funding and strategic MS4 partnerships to implement stormwater best management practices (BMPs) identified within an EPA-approved Watershed Management Plan. Efforts also included applying engineering designs to target floodplain enhancements, TMDL compliance, flood mitigation, and infrastructure protection. During the past decade, WMU implemented 14 stormwater BMPs. The most recent stormwater BMP project leveraged state funding and was completed in November 2011. The project focused on multiple goals: reducing direct discharges of urban stormwater runoff to surface waters; naturalizing conveyances and stream corridors using native plants; repairing erosion caused by urban runoff; restoring original floodplains; reducing phosphorus and sediment loads to tributaries of the Kalamazoo River; and increasing groundwater recharge. In 2011, a WMU TMDL Compliance Planning Project demonstrated that WMU has achieved TP load reductions sufficient to meet TMDL load allocation compliance goals. The final TMDL Compliance Plan document provided a "road map" outlining future implementation of on-campus and off-campus stormwater BMPs. This plan will also help move WMU into a position of becoming Stormwater Neutralâ„¢. A framework for a water quality monitoring program also was included in the plan to enable successful measurement of stormwater BMP effectiveness. To complement the compliance plan, several BMP treatment recommendations for future implementation were pre-designed. These designs clearly defined costs and environmental benefits in terms of water quality and hydrology improvements to ensure that efforts are reasonable, feasible, and beneficial. Source

Allerhand J.E.,Kieser and Associates LLC | Brian Boyer K.P.E.,Kieser and Associates LLC | McCarthy J.,Kieser and Associates LLC | Kieser M.S.,Kieser and Associates LLC
Journal of Green Building | Year: 2012

Stormwater has long been recognized as a substantial contributor to water quality impairments. Development has increased the area of impervious surfaces and disrupted the natural flow path for precipitation. In developed areas, large volumes of untreated stormwater runoff increase erosion and pollutant transport to surface waters. Regulators have designed programs to address the water quality impacts of stormwater and regulated entities are in the process of figuring out how to comply with these measures. Financial burden often is cited as a major reason for slow implementation and lack of compliance with stormwater regulations (NRC, 2009). Regulated entities have argued that the permit requirements are overly burdensome and unrealistic; however, it is still too early to determine the full financial burden of stormwater regulation. Although the regulations were enacted several years ago (and continue to evolve), many entities are still in the early phases of the implementation process and are trying to determine how to integrate stormwater controls into existing infrastructure. In addition, municipalities often have limited information about the cost of retrofits. The cost of compliance with stormwater regulation is one of the major unknowns facing municipalities and other regulated stormwater dischargers. Regulated entities should expect to incur high costs associated with stormwater controls, especially in areas that are already highly developed. Exactly how high these costs might be is uncertain. This makes it very difficult for decision makers to plan and budget for stormwater controls. As a result, many municipalities have delayed implementing these measures despite increasing pressure from regulators. Entities soon will have to begin financing and implementing stormwater controls. This paper illustrates the lack of, and uncertainty with, cost data available to planners and decision makers and provides an example where a regulated entity applied a localized analysis to cost effectively achieve stormwater reductions and compliance goals. Source

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