Corvallis Sues State Over New Storm Water Rules

Corvallis is one of six Oregon municipalities to file suit against Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality over new storm water runoff requirements.

Each of  the suits allege the DEQ goes far beyond federal requirements. Corvallis City Manager Mark Shepherd said in a statement, “Increased costs related to on-site stormwater retention, for example, appear to be so strict that some undeveloped properties in Corvallis would be rendered undevelopable.”

According to the Statesman Journal, Shepherd said storm water management costs would skyrocket 40 percent from the current $1.9 million a year for Corvallis.

The other cities suing the DEQ include: Turner, Albany, Millersburg, Bend and Springfield — and all of them contend the cost would be egregious for ratepayers. The costs would also increase development fees, in a market already in need of more housing inventory.

DEQ spokesperson Katherine Benenati told the Statesman Journal, “The new permit contains necessary requirements on these municipalities to control stormwater impacts to water quality.”

Generally, city streets, gutters and storm drains collect rainwater runoff, that in turn collects oil, pesticides, and other pollutants that then discharge into state waters without treatment.

However, the Turner lawsuit asserts, “There are many sources of pollution into the (stormwater system) that are beyond Turner’s control, including bacteria from pet, avian, wildlife and illegal camping activities, and other pollutants from atmospheric deposition, and individual applications of fertilizers and pesticides,”