In the past, the City has used existing staff and resources to monitor and reduce pollution in storm water runoff. Now, stricter regulations require us to provide a dedicated funding stream to make sure our rivers and ground water stay clean. The best way to do this is the creation of a utility, which will allow us to continue to meet state and federal requirements.
What is storm water, and why is it a problem?
Storm water runoff is water from rain and melting snow that flows over land and impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots and building rooftops and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oil, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, creeks and lakes.
Assessment Method and Preliminary Rates
The City has developed a temporary rate schedule for the storm water utility. Once the utility is in place, a study will establish a more appropriate rate schedule that can be implemented at a later date.
Extension of the sewer system in older areas of the community previously served by outdated cesspools and seepage pits
Adoption of the first municipal phosphate ban in the Clark Fork River watershed, leading the way for other communities
Improvements to treatment capacity and scope at the Wastewater Treatment Plant
Storm water and flood control improvements for the Pattee Canyon, South Hills, 39th Street and Miller Creek areas
Installation of treatment devices for storm water discharges in downtown Missoula at Orange Street and Silver Park and planning for improved treatment at Caras Park and Buckhouse Bridge
Installation of the hybrid poplar project, 90,000 trees planted near the treatment plant and watered with effluent that would have gone to the Clark Fork River, eliminating significant amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous
The community’s unique Missoula Water Quality Ordinance provides strong protection, and the City regulates discharges such as dry cleaner solvents as well as the use of street deicers. For the past 10 years, the Missoula Valley Water Quality District has worked to enforce water quality laws, monitor groundwater cleanup sites, oversee household hazardous waste collection and more.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is charged with enforcing state and federal regulations related to water quality, including storm water. The City works with the agency to comply with regulations.
Both of these permits are managed by DEQ to help ensure water quality. The new permit requires that the City have a full-time storm water coordinator, increase hands-on education about storm water pollution and prevention, and increase public input into the program.