COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Agreement with TJSWCD for County Stormwater Permit Compliance

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

(1) Allocate $95,900 from the Stormwater Fund to contract with TJSWCD for compliance services; (2) Authorize the County Executive to sign the agreement with TJSWCD

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Hirschman

 

LEGAL REVIEW:     Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

September 1, 2004

 

ACTION:                               INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:     X                     INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:      Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The County is permitted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for operation of its storm sewer system (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit or MS4 permit).  The County is mandated to have this permit under the Federal Clean Water Act and is currently in Year 2 of a 5 year permit cycle. This 5 year permit has six elements which must be addressed to assure the County’s storm sewer system is being operated in compliance with the law.  The six program elements for which the County must develop and maintain a program are: (1) public education and outreach, (2) public involvement and participation, (3) illicit discharge control, (4) construction site stormwater management, (5) post-construction stormwater management, and (6) pollution prevention and good housekeeping at municipal operations.  The Year 1 commitments were satisfactorily completed and County staff is now working to assure compliance with the Year 2 requirements. 

 

According to the stormwater master plan consultant’s report, annual costs to administer this program are anticipated to range from $234,000 in Year 1 to $108,000 in Year 5 (costs drop through time because higher costs are incurred to get programs up and running).  The total expected costs over the 5-year permit cycle was $831,000 (after which point, the permit needs to be renewed).  Staff was able to administer the Year 1 program with existing resources through creative partnering and leveraging elements from our existing programs, which reduced the anticipated costs.  However, the requirements increase in Year 2 and the need for additional resources, while anticipated, needs to be addressed to satisfy permit requirements.   As shown in the stormwater master plan  reviewed by the Board in July, funding the base program (existing efforts plus newly mandated programs) would require between $100,000 and $240,000 above existing funding levels.  These funds are needed for some combination of staffing, consultant services, and interagency agreements to satisfy permit requirements.  Beyond this initial permit cycle, it is anticipated that maintenance of these program elements will be required under the next MS4 permit. At this time, it is not known if DEQ will add additional requirements to that future permit. 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 2.2: Protect and/or preserve the County’s natural resources.

Goal 2.3: Provide for environmentally sensitive government operations at the local and regional level.

Goal 3.3: Develop and implement policies that address the County’s growth and urbanization while continuing to enhance the factors that contribute to the quality of life in the County.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

County staff has investigated alternatives for the County to meet its permit obligations in the most cost effective manner.  Those included:  additional staff, consultant services, expanded use of volunteers, and interagency agreements that would allow other local or regional agencies to manage some of the required programs for the County.  After careful consideration, staff believes that using an interagency agreement with the Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) provides the most cost effective solution.  Staff determined additional staff or consultant services would have significantly higher costs.  Staff was not confident that a program relying on volunteers would guarantee regulatory compliance and, given the potential fines (up to $25,000 per day of violation), staff recommends a solution that better assures compliance. For this reason, staff has been working with the Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) to develop a plan where that agency supports three of the six elements in the permit:

·         Public education and outreach on stormwater impacts

·         Public involvement and participation

·         Illicit discharge detection and elimination

TJSWCD has prepared a proposal to perform these duties.  

 

The following was recognized by staff in recommending TJSWCD to perform these duties on behalf of the County:

 

Under the proposed agreement, TJSWCD would perform most of the essential functions and labor-intensive tasks, while County staff verifies consistency with permit requirements. 

 

TJSWCD’s proposal is for two years: $47,900 for the first year, and $48,000 for the second year, for a total of $95,900.  These funds are currently available in the Stormwater Control Fund and were anticipated to be expended on permit compliance.   Once an agreement is in place, staff anticipates the County should be able to complete this 5-year permit cycle without the need to hire additional staff for administration of the permit, though it is anticipated that other consultant services will likely be required in years 3 through 5 for assistance with program needs.

 

The County would administer the remaining three program elements.  Two of those remaining elements are existing programs (construction site stormwater management and post-construction stormwater management).  The last element -- pollution prevention and good housekeeping at municipal operations -- is being addressed by General Services under a Strategic Plan objective (Goal:  2.3 Provide for environmentally sensitive government operations at the local and regional level).

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

·         Approve the expenditure of $95,900 for the County’s agreement with TJSWCD. 

·         Authorize the County Executive to sign an agreement with TJSWCD in the amount and for the services described herein, after it is approved by the County Attorney.

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:  Attachment A: TJSWCD Proposal

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