Division of Water
City of Frankfort, Subdivision Developer Cited for Water Quality Violations
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 20, 2006) – The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) has issued notices of violation to the city of Frankfort and a subdivision developer in separate cases involving sites that have contributed – or could contribute – to excessive siltation in Benson Creek, a tributary of the Kentucky River.
Responding to a complaint, inspectors from the DOW regional office in Frankfort conducted surveillance of the creek from its branches in eastern Shelby County to its confluence with the Kentucky at Frankfort.
The notice of violation (NOV) against the city arose from a city-owned maintenance facility in a floodplain of Benson Creek. The site includes salt storage, an above-ground fuel tank without containment and a water/oil separator that had discharged processed waters off-site to the floodplain. The site also has erosion problems.
Inspectors concluded that workers have pushed dirt and rock into the floodplain to enlarge the lot. The city holds a stream construction permit for the site. However, a condition of the permit is to maintain a silt fence in the floodplain. The NOV was issued for not having an appropriate permit to discharge unmonitored stormwater runoff. A permit would spell out conditions for limiting contaminants. The discharged processed water has since been routed into the municipal sewer system for treatment as wastewater.
The other NOV involved Orchard Acres subdivision, a development off Mink Run Road in western Franklin County, for failure to obtain a stormwater construction permit and failure to implement best management practices to control/eliminate siltation in stormwater runoff. The project was cited in 2004 for the same problems.
The developer and contractor responsible for the work at Orchard Acres attended a conference at DOW’s Frankfort Regional Office on Jan. 10, 2006. They were given permit applications, directions regarding work in a floodway/floodplain and information on stormwater construction management, permitting and best management practices for the development. They also were told that further noncompliance would result in immediate referral to the Division of Enforcement.
In their surveillance of Benson Creek, DOW inspectors found many potential sources of erosion and soil-contaminated runoff. A hard rain leads to a buildup of silt in waterways, which can smother and kill aquatic plants and animals and exacerbate flooding. Creeks receive drainage from many sources, including roads covered with dirt, mud, oil and grease; drainage ditches, farms, construction sites, and residential and commercial developments, among others.
Benson Creek is on Kentucky’s official List of Impaired Waters because of siltation from runoff it receives. Inspectors noted that silt also is building up in the Kentucky River as a result. The river is becoming more shallow because of the runoff, allowing trees and debris to hang up on the bottom and intensifying flooding. Down river around the mouth of Stoney Creek, the river is so clogged with submerged trees that navigating by boat is hazardous.
However, while some of the runoff is difficult or impossible to control, the two sites of concern should have had permits issued by the Division and should have been implementing plans to manage or eliminate erosion resulting in silt-contaminated runoff.