An ordinance by the McAllen City Commission approved earlier this year aims to protect the quality of its surface water by reducing the pollutants discharged into the City of McAllen’s storm drainage system by residents, businesses and construction sites. The ordinance, which was approved at the McAllen City Commission meeting of January 14, 2019, complies with both federal and state mandates on surface water quality as established by the Environmental Protection Agency through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit which is regulated at the state level by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
According to Delilah Martinez, stormwater coordinator for the City of McAllen Public Works Department, the stormwater management ordinance is designed to help the community develop approved erosion and sediment control plans, as well as reduce pollutants such as trash and recycling; oil, paint or other chemicals; yard and pet waste; and construction debris from entering the public storm sewer system. This ordinance requires construction sites to implement approved erosion sediment control plans; residents and business to follow best management practices in their daily activities regarding landscaping and pet waste pick-up; and for developments to properly maintain their private detention ponds and swales.
While Martinez has already been on education campaign with the youngest in McAllen – her 4th grade stormwater art project “STop pollution! Only Rain down the storm drain, McAllen!” [STORM] – has already identified four new McAllen I.S.D. schools this year that will join Roosevelt Elementary in designing and painting their own storm drain inlet with its all-important message, it is reaching the adults that will take some time and effort, to make sure that no one is violation of the ordinance. This is why City of McAllen Public Works stormwater officials will continue their outreach to the community with the “Only Rain Down the Drain” education campaign to ensure that all businesses and residents are aware of the ordinance specifics and more importantly, that everyone is in compliance with the ordinance.
“As our awareness of not only our environment, but also, our action on the environment grows, we are better able to adjust our habits and practices so that we can protect our most precious natural resource, our water system,” said Martinez.
For residents, it is important that they or their gardeners make sure to collect the yard waste, either grass clippings or their raked leaves, and do NOT let them just fall into the storm drain inlet. In fact, residents can utilize the brown paper bags designed for yard waste offered for free by the City of McAllen at the McAllen Public Works Recycling Center, 4101 N. Benston Road or at variousCity facilities around time, including: McAllen City Hall, 1300 W. Houston Avenue; Lark Community Center, 2601 Lark Avenue; Las Palmas Community Center, 1921 N. 25th Street; and
Palmview Community Center, 3401 Jordan Rd. W. Those bags are collected once a month by the McAllen Public Works crews and recycled into Nature’s Organics compost, which residents can later purchase at $1.75 for a 40-pound bag.
Residents with dogs should also make sure that they “Scoop the poop!” and not leave their dog waste in neighbor’s yards, right-of-ways or in parks and trails. Contrary to popular belief, most dog excrement is actually not biodegradable because of the high protein diets most pets enjoy. Most commercial dog food contains added protein and other nutrients that actually render the waste non-biodegradable.
“This pet excrement is definitely something that we don’t want getting into our water shed, so please, pick up after your dogs!” said Steven Kotsatos, Director, City of McAllen Health & Code Enforcement Department.
Residents should also make sure that their trash cans lids are secure so that on those windy McAllen days, trash and recycling stays in their proper containers and doesn’t end up in the storm drain system.
Residents and businesses alike need to make sure not to dump paint, oils or other chemicals and allow it to run off on the street and into the storm drain; this is an absolute no!
Construction companies will have to pay special attention to their new build areas and not allow any debris from their building materials or ground erosion from any of their land disturbance activities, such as clearing and grubbing; grading; excavating; and demolition, fall into the storm drain.
Fines are set at no more than $500 for each offense.
To help educate the developers on best practices to avoid these offenses, Martinez and a team of employees from the City of McAllen Engineering, Building and Public Works departments have been doing presentations at various community, industry and civic organizations around town, to better explain and define all of the elements of the new stormwater ordinance, so that residents and businesses alike are all aware and in compliance. To have this presentation at your next meeting, contact Martinez at 681-4000.
This stormwater ordinance complies with the Clean Water Act of the Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. §1251 et. seq.).
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@cityofmcallen McAllen TX