The Santa Barbara City Council will meet today and discuss submitting an application to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board seeking approval of proposed amendments to post-construction storm water requirements in the city’s storm water discharge permit.
Urban storm water runoff is the single largest source of surface water pollution in Santa Barbara. The Federal Clean Water Act establishes the framework for regulating discharges of polluted urban runoff into creeks, wetlands and oceans. Under the regulation’s framework, cities that have separate municipal storm water systems, like Santa Barbara, must obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System storm water discharge permit, according to the staff report.
The CCRWQCB issues the permits for the city, which is required to establish post-construction storm water runoff management requirements for new development and redevelopment within the city.
The city requires development and redevelopment projects to include storm water best management practices to control runoff in compliance with the city’s permit.
The permit requirements are implemented by city Municipal Code and in the BMP guidance manual.
“With significant participation and input from stakeholders, staff proposes amendments to the City’s existing storm water discharge permit to simplify the requirements, provide more design flexibility, include updates in BMP design, create equity across geographic areas within the City, and improve cost effectiveness while still maintaining water quality improvement standards. The proposed amendments include changes to tier thresholds, tier requirements, exemptions, BMPs, and definitions,” the staff report reads.
The proposed amendments to the technical guidance manual are aimed at simplifying the requirements and providing more design flexibility, creating equity across geographic areas within the city while improving cost effectiveness and maintaining water quality improvement standards, the staff report reads.
Before the proposed changes to the storm water permit can be implemented, they must be approved by the CCRWQCB. Upon direction from the council, staff will prepare and submit an application seeking approval of the proposed amendments, a process that could take up to three months. If successful, staff will return to council with amendments to the city’s Municipal Code.
Since the existing program is included in the city’s local coastal program affecting the portion of the city in the coastal zone, staff would prepare and submit an application to the Coastal Commission for an LCP amendment, the staff report reads.
In other business today, the council will discuss prioritizing the city website replacement project. The council will be asked to approve the transfer of $160,000 from the Constituent Relationship Management project to the website content management system project to fund project management services for the project. It will also decide whether to recommence work on the management project after the website project is completed.
Today’s meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be streamed live at www.santabarbaraca.gov/cap.