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Approved Dec 18, 2000 - Stormwater Task Force Minutes


December 18, 2000

The Santa Rosa County Stormwater Task Force met on the above date with the following members present: Chairman Geoffrey Maddux, Steve Duncan, Vernon Compton, Wayne Newsome, Kathi Martin, Debbie Dawsey, Jack Sanborn, Alan Miller, and Carla Cook. Also present was Hunter Walker, County Administrator and Dr. Joe Lepo. Former members Frances Dunham and Dr. Enid Sisskin were also present. Chairman Maddux called the meeting to order at 5:00 pm.

Chairman Maddux introduced the new members to the Board and thanked the outgoing members for their input to this Board.

Miller moved approval of the December 5, 2000 minutes, which was seconded by Newsome and carried by unanimous vote

Chairman Maddux requested that the next meeting be arranged in a round table format.

Hunter Walker gave the new members a synopsis of the meetings last week. He gave them the stormwater utility book, information on Escambia County reports, and as much information as he could in a one hour session.

Dr. Joe Lepo presented the board members with a list titled "Stormwater Runoff Issue" (attached) and asked each member to rank the items in order of importance and stated the list is not meant to be a comprehensive list. Lepo requested an updated list of e-mail addresses (attached), which was supplied with the exception of member, Carla Cook, who stated she would soon be getting a new one. Lepo said to start with, that he would like to find out whether we all define these concepts the same way. Secondly if we feel we need to add more to the list. Lepo went through the list and stated his concept of each of the items (attached). He invited the board members to interject with their opinions of the concepts. Lepo stated when ranking these concepts, some are a lot easier to do and cost a lot less, and that might be a factor you want to consider, and certainly keeping control facilities already in place working properly are a lot cheaper than increasing the capacity of them. Lepo stated that he had already received input from former members Sisskin and Dunham, Sisskin submitted an outline arrangement of the list. From this discussion Lepo would like to get out a revised list for the next meeting. Lepo will get out via e-mail suggestions presented to him from Sisskin and Dunham.

Discussion on the concepts lead by Dr. Lepo: Accountability: Do we want a segment in the report on accountability? Best management practices (BMPs) are used a lot of times in agricultural and stormwater control Usually divided into two categories: Structural modifications (retention ponds, detention ponds) or source modifications (control the impact of stormwater by controlling at the source) There was a lot of discussion on the different issues that should fall under the heading best management practices. Buffer zones could be considered a BMP and could be in some cases a part of  the Land Development Code. We may want to have BMPs as a heading and then list a bunch of management practices and just say these are things we can do Maddox stated that this item would be a part of the Land Development Code. Citizen involvement is defined as education. If you do not get citizens engaged in dealing with stormwater issues most of the work we do here, including the report, is going to be ignored and the follow through will define how successful we are. Control facilities need to be controlled in some way. Design flexibility means during engineering phase it directs how stormwater is going to run and should build into it enough flexibility to modify later down the road without a major expense. Lepo feels that this works back into the master plan. No discussion took place on direct discharge Drainage-basin design management concept means engineering and stormwater controls have to reflect the drainage basin. GIS database is what we are going to have to depend on to really implement this concept. Dredging concept is about waterways that can be improved, Several members believed that dredging could be removed from the report. Dawsey stated that she would like to see dredging stay in the report. Lepo believes that it could be subcategorized as a retrofit as Sisskin suggested. Discussion took place as to this concept being a regulatory or improvement for stormwater quality. Lepo hopes for stormwater quality. Education (Public)/Training is viewed as a public education concept. Enhance retention requirements mean how much water is retained in a pond. In Santa Rosa County it is a one-inch requirement. Do we need to upgrade our best management practices, should we focus on upgrading or are there better management practices? Should we put effort into what is already out there? Performance evaluation (operation and maintenance) for stormwater control facilities on an annual basis  was an issue that was added to the list. Board members asked several questions about current enforcement methods. Maddox stated if we could get the retention ponds working at there uppermost capacity we would accomplish one thing. Environmental resource permitting (ERP), do we want the report to encourage the powers that be to go after environmental resource permitting? Several members of the committee felt that this is a legislative issue. Funding could either be a big or little concept, whatever is recommended, a funding source would have to be established. Maddox felt that the county would have to come up with the money for a stormwater management plan. Maddox repeated Mr. Livingston's statement that there is money available from the State, but they are for actual/physical construction, to do things that would enhance stormwater management. Dawsey stated education was a key factor in funding through taxes. Maddox suggested incorporating consideration of various funding sources and the potential revenue that would be generated by those sources into the stormwater master plan requirements. Lepo stated that maybe this belongs in our discussion of the master plan. Newsome suggested for finding sources: optional sales tax and standard stormwater utility feet Maddox feels that retrofitting old subdivisions, which is a key, is where the money is going to have to be spent Lepo stated when you arc thinking about how to rank these concepts are we really going to start out and hammer the need for money to do this or the other way of doing it, this is what needs to be done and why it needs to be done, somebody has to come up with same money to do this. Identify or focus on the worst pollutants. Some items that stormwater carries are important and certain BMPs will control sediments, but will not control nutrients. There are also pesticides that are very important as far as their impact on the bays and other waterways. We cannot deal with everything that is in stormwater. We need to state the things that we think will be most effective, things that need to be looked at first. The TMDL Task Force that Mr. Lepo is on are only attacking three pollutants in their first cycle: nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous), sediments (suspended solids), and microbial pollutants like fecal coliform, with the understanding that there arc a lot more that might impair water. What items do we want to focus on first, worst, or everything? Duncan felt that if you deal with the worst first most of your problems would be salved. Maddox stated that different drainage basins are going to have different problems. Land Development Code (LDC) needs to be looked at in stormwater control plan. Could be a component of the master plan. You would want to rank high if you feel it is a very important issue and may want to dedicate a major heading to this issue. Master Plan will probably be our number one issue. The major problem with Escambia County's report was that the master plan did not rank in the top ten list. Sanborn stated that their recommendations will be incorporated in the master plan. Maddox stated that the master plan is only a thing that points to the problems, it is going to say these are the drainage basins, here are the areas of inferable surfaces, and here are the discharge points. It identifies the problems. Sanborn questioned whether it could be made more comprehensive, possibly addressing the solutions as well. Maddox felt that their report should address these things. Dawsey questioned when the scope of work for the master plan would be available to go out for RFP? Hunter replied that we would need to wait on the GIS implementation. Walker stated that a scope has not been developed, however, they had one sent in from Walton County, which did not seem as comprehensive as this group is talking about. Dawsey stated she felt that it was a good start. Newsome felt it would be appropriate if we add general items that we want considered in the Master plan and they could be incorporated in the scope. Lepo stated that he felt the committee members should define master plan and come up with some suggestions, how much should go in. This is our concept of the master plan as it relates to stormwater issues. There should be at the least a few pages on Master plan. New Stormwater Czar idea somewhat like the "River keepers" concept. Does this group want to recommend that there be some individual or some continuation of the process, so that stormwater is kept in the public eye? This could be a pad of public education. Do we think that it is important enough that we are going to keep an entity going on stormwater or are we going to keep it in the public eye? Maddox believed that it should be whoever headed up stormwater utility, if it ever came to that point. New Ordinances/enforcement of existing is a pretty vague concept. Do we want to write new ordinances that directly relate to stormwater? Do we want a section in the report that deals with this? Stop grandfathering is a close concept. Do we need new regional regulation? Probably yes at some time. Do we want this report to say here are some new laws that we would like the Board of County Commissioners to consider? Are we going to get that specific? Maddox stated that they should make recommendations and that citizens should have input. Newsome questioned the type of ordinances we are talking about. Lepo did not really have any in mind, he just put it in the report in part to see if this group wanted to make it a part of the report and have a section in the report that says here are some ordinances that we need. Duncan felt that it would be taken care of in the LDC. Lepo stated when we write this section we need to say these are the concepts we would like the Land Development Code to address. You could spend forever on improving this type of an ordinance. If you feel that land development code improvements or tree ordinances are really important to stormwater, then you have got to say it in the report and you probably need to say here are some directions we would like to see the tree ordinance go, we would like to increase/decrease the diameter of the trees that can be cut, and so on. If we have a segment on specific things we may want to give guidance to the Board of County Commissioners on how this group wants that to go. Martin felt that the discussion was way out of scope for what we are supposed to be doing. Maddox stated vegetative cover has to be addressed to some extent. Duncan felt that vegetative buffers, vegetative covers, and current tree ordinance should fall under BMPs. Dawsey felt that it fell into design flexibility very well, Maddox felt that they should encourage developers to save the trees. Dawsey stated the county has to decide along with the development community. Sanborn questioned at what point are we going to vote on this list and rank them numerically? Sanborn stated that the issues are crossed and need to be reorganized into primary categories. Lepo hoped to put in categories. Sanborn stated some of the things on the list are solutions and some are problems. Do we need to add anything else that we want to include or that we want to consider in the report? Sisskin felt that you could include most of the items on the list if they were organized. Maddox requested that Lepo categorize these items and e-mail the rating excel spreadsheet. Dawsey stated she would like input from the two new members. Maddox requested that they do so as quickly as possible. Maddox felt that this report should be completed as soon as possible. Lepo has organization schemes from Dunham and Sisskin that he will e-mail them to the other committee members so that we might settle on one for the next meeting so they can look at the organizational scheme. Dawsey requested that if anyone else on the committee has an outline, they e-mail their suggestions as well. Pave dirt roads, runoff from dirt roads can impose a big problem. Duncan stated as far as county roads it is not a large concern, Dawsey understood that this was a considerable problem, Maddox felt that there are a lot of unpaved roads in Santa Rosa County. Compton stated one of the biggest issues is not having the finding to do all the paving that would be needed, but there are some real solutions on hilltop to hill top paving, so you do not have to pave the entire road, you can address a large percentage of the problem by focusing where you need to. Lepo stated that there is a down side to paving to, it adds impervious surface. Newsome stated that in a substantial part of Escambia County they are using pervious pavement as opposed to hot mix asphalt; they use a special coal mix. Lepo said that this could be considered a best management practice. Paved roads could go into another one of these subcategories. Permitting is a more general concept. Do we need to look at permitting as a separate issue in this report? Maddox felt that this could be combined with a couple of the others. Lepo agreed. Quantity/Quality has to deal with public perception of stormwater. When a persons yard floods you have a quantity issue. Quality does not affect individual people in ways that they can see and feel immediately Do we want to address both issues in this report? What kind of balance between the two? Quantity is easy to deal with, just make sure the water doesn't rip up pavement and doesn't accumulate in someone's yard. Quality is a little trickier. Dawsey stated that the balance between the two sits as the basis for our ordinance. Sisskin stated that this is basically the basis of the whole committee. Dawsey stated that we would need a very comprehensive definition of quantity and quality that we are going to apply. Retrofit according to Sisskin is a major category. She has runoff treatment, paved dirt roads, dredging, and TMDLs under retrofit. There is retrofit verses new construction. Stormwater runoff is going to be something that the TMDL allocation, how you deal with it is going to be dumped on to the Regional governments eventually. Maddox stated that the EDEP have surface water criteria based on five or six different classifications, whether it is agriculture or whether it is TMDLs, whether it is connected to another water body, marine water bodies that kind of stuff Lepo stated non point source pollutants under TMDLs are going to be voluntary and point sources are going to be controlled under this MPDES regulation. Stormwater for the larger communities will fit into that, so TMDLs are something, if you got a water body segment that is polluted, whether or not you are regulated for total maximum daily loads, you are going to have to deal with it one way or another, Do we want to look at the impact of stormwater on runoff into impair water segments? There is a higher standard for scenic rivers. Maddox stated that the Blackwater River is a pristine river. Lepo stated that retrofit is very expensive to go back and fix. This report should have a strong statement on how we want to deal with retrofit. Runoff treatment can be dealt with as a BMP. Do we want artificial wetlands; do we want to increase buffer strips? Lepo would consider that same as best management practices or how do you deal with improving the quality of stormwater? Septic tanks ought to be a real easy issue, either you feel one way or the other. Do we want to deal with septic tanks in any major way? Maddox stated that this was taken up by another committee and is for getting all septic tanks off the peninsula in the South part of the county and a recommendation that the county move toward removing every septic tank in South Santa Rosa County eventually, and that everybody be hooked up especially as everything becomes more urbanized and grows, Dunham stated the Long Range Planning Committee did issue a report, which was ignored and felt that it should at least be mentioned. Dawsey stated that the majority of the commission did not task this committee with the septic tank issue and felt that mentioning that it is important to look, but other than that she felt they did not expect much more than that. Lepo stated that septic tanks are a problem when they are leaking and not functioning properly and are in an area where there is a lot of water running through. Newsome stated if they are in a situation close to a water body and the ground is saturated it becomes a stormwater issue because nobody at that point in time can separate what is causing the degradation of water quality in that water body. State current status of activities in report Do we want a segment in the report that basically says here are some things that are going on? We have the initiation of a GIS mapping and things like this. Dawsey questioned if he was talking about the agricultural best management practices? Dawsey felt that this would be a good beginning. Stop grandfathering is connected with retrofitting. Lepo can also see with the new ordinances. How do we want to deal with grandfathering? Street sweeping can be improved and buy more sweepers, this might be considered more of a management practice to improve the quality of the runoff in the urban areas. Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and tree ordinances were previously addressed. Wetland mitigation bank was felt by Maddox as an interesting point. Do you feel that this means of dealing with wetlands is as good as some other means that we have of dealing with, like keeping the originals in place? Lepo added one item (Performance evaluation for stormwater control facilities) and is open to any other additions. Based on input Lepo will group these items Compton stated that Sanborn had to leave but asked that he add Agricultural runoff, which Compton felt, could be a part of best management practices. Lepo created an excel spreadsheet that will help the members rank the items of importance. Rank from one to forty-two. The lower the score the higher it is in the ranking. Lepo felt that it would be better to do the outline first, get the items in categories so we have an outline for the next meeting. From the outline we can rank the items in each category and we can say this is what we want. Dawsey felt that first the problems should be defined that exist in Santa Rosa County. Lepo believes that by categorizing these things the concept will come together better. Maddox requested ranking and subcategorizing and hash out before final report. Lepo likes the idea of grouping. Lepo doesn't believe that the ranking could be done by the next meeting. Lepo will try to come up with a straw man outline of these things based on input he has. Each member is requested to bring their outline to the next meeting to go through the outline to agree to the grouping. Maddox felt that the first five topics should be talked about in great detail and the lesser ones less. Lepo stated that this report belongs to this committee and the committee should organize the report in the way they wish.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 24, 2001 at 5:00 p.m.

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.