Federal EPA and State Enforcement Action Against the City of Colorado Springs
Presented by Richard Mulledy, PE & Jeff Besse
The City of Colorado Springs is unfortunately in the midst of major, ongoing stormwater permit litigation in federal district court in Denver. Four other governments: the United States, the State of Colorado, Pueblo County, and a downstream water conservancy district consisting of five member counties, are suing the City to enforce its MS4 permit. They seek an array of penalties and other relief.
In response to enforcement action, current litigation, and permit requirements related to the recently constructed Southern Delivery System, the City of Colorado Springs entered into a legally binding and historic stormwater-related Intergovernmental Agreement between the City, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Pueblo County. The agreement has resulting in the resurrection of the stormwater program and commits the City and Utilities, as partners, to invest a minimum of $460 million dollars over the next two decades on stormwater management and control activities, including a commitment to meet MS4 obligations, maintain existing and future water quality and stormwater related infrastructure, and to the construction of certain identified stormwater capital projects. The City has whole heartedly embraced this truly non-traditional partnership approach.
The IGA agreement sets legally binding minimum expenditure requirements of $16.5 million dollars per year and minimum 5 year spending totals of $100 million, $110 million, $120 million, and $130 million over the next 20 year period. These monies must be spent directly on the stormwater program, as defined within the IGA, and are audited for compliance on an annual basis by Pueblo County, which neighbors El Paso County on its southern border.