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Rules against excess watering of landscaping being formed
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• WHAT: Workshop on new run-off rules for development

• WHEN: Today, 1 to 3:30 p.m.

• WHERE: Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd.

Wasting landscape water for some future development could become a costly proposition.

Sometime in the coming year standards will be put in place for projects creating 5,000 square feet or more of impervious surface — roof tops, sidewalks, parking lots, and such — to reduce run-off from not just storms but landscape irrigation as well.

By not doing so could subject property owners to significant daily fines as required by the state and federal governments.

It is part of a state requirement so California can comply with the federal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Any non-storm run-off is considered not being in compliance,” noted Bret Swain, a senior engineer with the City of Manteca.

As such rules will be crafted requiring future projects to eliminate overspray and other landscaping irrigation excesses that creates run-off.

Essentially, any water that makes its way into the storm water system is considered “polluted” under state and federal standards and therefore needs to be eliminated.

Although the rules are being crafted during the current four-year drought, the requirement was advanced years prior. Some of the regulations could be viewed as a backdoor way of mandating water conservation for larger developments although they are being driven by an effort to reduce storm run-off pollution making its way into rivers, streams, lakes and other bodies of water.

Future projects will also need to reduce run-off created by putting in place 5,000 square feet or more of impervious surfaces. Among the possible solutions is creating swales that can be maintained to allow for onsite percolation of as much run-off from storms as feasible.

Larger cities such as Modesto and Stockton already have had such rules imposed. The mandate for rules for smaller communities is an extension of those requirements.

Manteca along with Tracy, Lodi, Patterson and San Joaquin County are working to develop post-construction development standards to provide consistent guidance in implementing the requirements.

The standards will provide guidance for source control of run-off, low-impact development, site design, and storm water treatment The standards will also include “full hydro modification” procedures for developments larger than an acre.

In addition rules will also apply to projects that replace 5,000 square feet more of existing impervious surface. Projects that create or replace 2,500 square feet or more of impervious surfaces are mandated to implement site design measures as defined in the NPDES permits.

Swain noted the cities indicated they didn’t simply want to impose a set of standards on the development community. Instead, they want input from all stakeholders so they can craft requirements that work most effectively with local development.

Three stakeholder workshops take place today including one in Manteca.

It is at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd., from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

The others are from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at Krist Hall at Lodi’s Hutchins Street Square and from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy City Council Chambers, 333 Civic Center Plaza, and Tracy.