VALPARAISO | The city's campaign to correct stormwater flooding problems is paying off in more than fewer flooded basements.
Valparaiso received awards in three categories recently from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System program.
"We were very pleased with the city's performance and credit the collaborative efforts of multiple departments and the residents of Valparaiso as well as partnerships with other communities," said Mingyan Zhou, Valparaiso's MS4 operator.
Mayor Jon Costas said, "It's very rewarding to have the state take notice of our stormwater efforts. We've worked hard to serve our residents and to exceed statewide standards."
IDEM recognized the city for:
- Its efforts to detect and eliminate illicit discharges. This was based on an IDEM audit last year in which the city received the highest possible score and "best" ratings for mapping and field screening.
- Its success in controlling post-construction stormwater run-off, and
- Its recent rain barrel decorating competition among the schools as part of the public education/participation portion of the MS4 program. A total of 25 barrels were decorated by students at 18 schools. The barrels were displayed at the annual Earth Day program.
"The city works to manage both stormwater quality and quantity," Zhou said.
In addition to implementing a stormwater quality management plan in 2003 as required by state law, the city developed a stormwater master plan in 2009 that evaluated stormwater problems reported all over the city and came up with a list of 17 projects designed to reduce flooding, basement sewer backups and pollutants from reaching the waterways.