Grover Beach officials have agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty to settle violations it received for failing to submit annual reports on the city’s ability to control storm water pollution, according to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The city failed to submit annual reports for three years from 2010-12, despite numerous reminders from water board staff and three subsequent notices of violation, the water quality board said Tuesday in a news release.
On March 14, 2013, water board staff met with Grover Beach public works director Greg Ray to inspect the city’s storm water management program and found that city officials had not made much progress to implement an “effective” program, according to an administrative civil liability complaint issued last June.
During the visit, Ray indicated that the city did not have any dedicated storm water staff other than himself, nor did it have updated ordinances regarding storm water and did not allocate much money to a management program, the complaint stated.
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On Tuesday, Grover Beach city manager Bob Perrault said the city had argued in 2009 that it did not have the resources to put toward a storm water program, which would cost about $150,000 a year. The water board found that the city would have to implement the program, despite its objections, Perrault said.
“From the very beginning we thought the water quality control board was going further than what was required in the law and took the position that it was adversely impacting the city to implement the requirements,” he said. “The other thing to keep in mind is that we probably have the best system of storm water retention of any city in the area.”
Besides its retention basins, the city calls for construction projects to control polluted storm water and reduce runoff, and requires new developments to retain storm water on site through retention systems such as a subsurface basin that allows water to percolate into the groundwater basin over time.
Perrault said an additional fee of about $4.50 a month was added to utility bills in 2012 to cover the cost of a storm water program. He said the city has since filed the three annual reports and is working on a storm water management program.
The money for the penalty will come out of reserve funds.
The proposed settlement is now available for public review and comments through March 12, after which time it will be presented to the water board or its executive officer for adoption, according to the water board news release.
The public can submit written comments to Central Coast Water Board, Attn: Harvey Packard, 895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Comments may also be emailed to Harvey.Packard@waterboards.ca.gov.
More information is available at www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/water_issues/programs/enforcement/index.shtml.