Spring Park learns about pollution prevention program

by Lorrie Ham
The Laker

The Spring Park City Council conducted its annual public hearing on the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) at the May 18 council meeting. The city has a permit which allows the management and treatment of urban storm water runoff through a city-managed pollution prevention program.

According to City Engineer Paul Pearson, the program, which was adopted in Spring Park in 2006, is designed to minimize pollutants to Lake Minnetonka to the maximum amount practicable. The permitting program, governed by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), regulates wastewater discharges to lakes, streams, wetlands and other surface waters. Locally, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) administers a permit program which regulates the construction and operation of wastewater disposal systems, including land treatment systems.

“The goal of the permit is to maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of Lake Minnetonka through management and treatment of urban storm water runoff,” said Pearson. “This is accomplished through the city-managed program and coordinated regional programs managed by the LMCD (Lake Minnetonka Conservation District) and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.”

Annual reports are required under the permit, which include an assessment of activities and measures of compliance. Public information is required as part of the permit as well, said Pearson.

“This is an opportunity to educate the public and solicit public comment,” said Pearson, who explained that storm water runoff does not go to a wastewater treatment plant. Instead it flows directly into lakes and streams. Everyone can help reduce polluted runoff by keeping trash, leaves and grass off streets and out of storm drains, streams and lakes; repairing leaks in vehicles, properly disposing of oil, paint and other materials; minimizing the use of pesticides, fertilizers and deicing materials; picking up pet wastes, and washing cars on the lawn or in a commercial car wash.

On a larger scale, the city took action to complete the storm water basin across from city hall, which reduces phosphorus for about 10 acres that drain into Lake Minnetonka – greatly improving the water quality, said Pearson. A drainage improvement project for West Arm Road East this summer will also help the water quality.

Mayor Bruce Williamson added that the city has taken efforts to prevent materials from getting into storm water runoff, such as multiple street sweepings each year.

“Everyone in the community can participate in the improvement of the quality of Lake Minnetonka,” said Pearson.
In another water matter, the council scheduled a water plant tour for city officials prior to the council work session on May 26. “I would like everyone to have the knowledge of what currently exists,” said Mayor Williamson. “I think it’s important to have a baseline understanding of how the plant runs since a major project to expand the plant is about to commence.”

Two of the three city wells are not in use due to trace contamination. The one major well is meeting the city’s needs, but a water treatment plant upgrade and expansion will soon begin, and be finished this fall, to restore the purity of water from all the wells. “We are partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health for the design, construction, and financing of this project,” said Mayor Williamson.

In other business, City Administrator Dan Tolsma noted that summer hours at city hall began May 18. The office is open Mondays through Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. through Labor Day.