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Environmental group threatens suit against Dothan - Dothan Eagle: News

Environmental group threatens suit against Dothan

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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 1:20 pm

An environmental watchdog group based in Banks has told the City of Dothan it plans to sue because it claims the city has not followed an Environmental Protection Agency directive to minimize stormwater runoff from construction sites within the city.

The Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper group sent a letter to Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz on Thursday claiming the EPA gave the city two years from Feb. 1, 2011, to implement a program and pass an ordinance dealing with control and enforcement matters concerning stormwater runoff.

The letter claims the city is in violation of two portions of a program known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program, part of the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Those two portions are:

 » Failure to adopt, implement and enforce an erosion and sediment control ordinance for construction sites.

 » Failure to develop and implement an ordinance to address post-construction runoff from new development or redevelopment sites.

The letter states it plans to file suit in 60 days unless the city provides evidence it has written and passed an ordinance related to the stormwater management at construction sites.

The EPA has not taken any enforcement action against the city related to the violations alleged by the Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper group.

Schmitz said the city has a policy in place to deal with stormwater runoff at construction sites and that city officials are currently reviewing the EPA directive to determine what, if anything, needs to be changed.

“I have read the letter and know we have a policy to deal with this. But, I have asked legal and our engineers to look at what the EPA requires. We’re looking at what (the EPA) says and what we are doing. If there is anything we need to adjust, we will,” Schmitz said.

Before development plans are approved, developers must submit within their plans a way to deal with stormwater runoff.