Greenway Alliance Opposing Reduction Of Standard For Stormwater Runoff At South Chickamauga Creek

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The  South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance is opposing reducing the storm runoff standard for South Chickamauga Creek.

Officials of the group said, "The Homebulders Association of Greater Chattanooga has held meetings behind closed doors at both the state and local level in an effort to relax Chattanooga’s stormwater regulations updated in 2014. They have worked to reduce the higher standard set for South Chickamauga Creek to prevent stormwater runoff and protect the water quality.

"Builders who are constructing new homes in the South Chickamauga Creek watershed are expected to assure that during a rainfall the first 1.6 inches of water will stay on the property. Regulation for other area creeks was set at 1 inch, but higher threats of extensive flooding and environmental degradation in South Chickamauga Creek determined the higher standard. South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance is calling for Chattanooga and the Stormwater Regulations Board to stand firm against this Homebuilders Association request. This citizen advocacy group has standing as it was part of the initial discussions to update the stormwater regulations, but has been excluded from subsequent discussions.

"South Chickamauga Creek is particularly susceptible to flooding, runoff sediment and pollutants due to the filling in of floodplains and wetlands and in some measure due to irresponsible development practices," said Sandra Kurtz, chairperson for South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance. "Now homebuilders want concessions to continue these same practices in essence passing the buck to citizens, even though they are the ones who have contributed to the conditions that necessitate the higher requirement and even though climate change impacts and more growth will exacerbate creek protection issues. Let Houston and Hurricane Harvey be a lesson that will keep us moving forward for our future welfare.".

She said the Chattanooga Water Quality Department "went through a rigorous assessment to determine the current stormwater regulations for the city to meet state requirements. In 2014, the City Council approved the adoption of the updated stormwater requirements that provide protections for water quality, wildlife and flood control required by law. Tennessee Department of Education & Conservation considers South Chickamauga Creek an exceptional stream though it is also on their List of Threatened and Impaired Streams."

The Stormwater Regulations Board will meet next Monday at 3 p.m. in the DRC Building, Room 1-A, 1250 Market Street in Chattanooga, to consider the Homebuilder Association request. They plan to meet again at the same place the following Friday, Sept. 22, at 2:30 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.


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