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City of Mobile enters consent decree for storm water management

June 30, 2014

MOBILE, Ala. - Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced today that the City of Mobile has entered into a consent decree with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to remedy alleged violations of the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act.

The decree resolves ADEM's allegations that the City failed to meet a series of obligations under its 2012 storm water management plan. The decree was filed with the Mobile County Circuit Court and approved by the court on Monday.

"This landmark agreement is a significant step toward regaining control of our storm water runoff and protecting our precious waterways," said Mayor Stimpson. "We commend the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and director Lance LeFleur for working with us to help bring the City back into compliance."

Under terms of the decree, the City did not admit fault, but in the settlement of the claims:

- The City will pay ADEM a fine of $135,000
- The City will purchase one or more litter boats in 2015 to address the flow of litter in its waterways
- The City will purchase and install a large litter trap on a tributary to Dog River
- The order sets aside the City's obligation to follow its December 2012 Storm Water Management Plan, and the parties agree that the City will follow its new 2014 Storm Water Management Plan.

ADEM previously sought up to $475,000 in fines against the City for failing to comply with an order to implement its 2012 storm water plan.

Stimpson said the City was committed to fulfilling its obligation to control the flow of pollution into its storm drains and waterways, as required under state and federal law.

"Mobile was described as a poster child for mismanagement of storm water runoff, which is a major problem when you consider we're one of the rainiest cities in America," Stimpson said. "Our citizens deserve better. Our goal is to become a national model for great storm water management, and this agreement is an important milestone on that path."

As part of the agreement, ADEM noted the significant progress made by the Stimpson administration since taking office in November 2013. Among the steps taken by the administration:

- In coordination with ADEM, the City has developed a 2014 Storm Water Management Plan that is both responsible and achievable, to replace and supersede the City's previous plan
- The City negotiated with ADEM a new draft NPDES permit, which is soon to be released for public comment
- The City presented a comprehensive amended Storm Water ordinance to the Mobile City Council for review and comment, and anticipates that it will be adopted before September 2014
- The City's Storm Water consultant, Payne Environmental, meets regularly with City departments to train them to perform their best management practices under the new plan
- The City developed a website focused on public education and will produce a video to run in waiting areas of City offices
- The City organized and participated in several community clean-up campaigns at targeted locations throughout Mobile
- The City is purchasing and installing a large litter trap to collect and remove litter from a tributary to Dog River

Click here to read the Joint Motion for Entry of Consent Decree.


George Talbot
City of Mobile