Sep 15, 2020

Colorado Springs Reaching Agreement to End Storm Water Lawsuit

Colorado Springs is on the brink of agreeing to a consent decree in an EPA storm water lawsuit

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The city of Colorado Springs has reached an agreement that would end a lawsuit over the city's neglect of its storm water management system.

The case was filed by the U.S. EPA and state Department of Public Health and Environment in late 2016 for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch ruled that the city violated its municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit for discharging storm runoff into creeks in the Arkansas River watershed, according to Colorado Springs Indy. 

"In our last request for an extension [in May], the Parties advised the Court that we had reached an agreement on almost all issues and had substantially completed a proposed Consent Decree," wrote the U.S. attorneys in an Aug. 17 request for an additional stay pending settlement. "The Parties further advised the Court that there were a few remaining open issues that needed to be resolved. These final issues have taken longer than anticipated to be resolved and, therefore, a final proposed Consent Decree was not ready to be presented to the appropriate approval authorities in the timeframe anticipated by the Parties when we requested our last extension.”

According to Pueblo County, Colorado Springs does not adequately control runoff that comes down Fountain Creek to Pueblo. The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District also alleges that damage comes from Colorado Springs' lack of storm water controls.

This case has cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, reported Colorado Springs Indy.

It is not yet publicly known how the city would pay more for storm water management over and above some $460 million agreed to in the 20-year deal signed with Pueblo County in spring 2016. Most of the funding came in November 2017 when voters approved storm water fees which charge residences $5 per month via their utilities billings and non-residential properties $30 per developed acre. These fees went into effect in July 2018.

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