Surface Runoff Into Boise Park

Here at the GUARDIAN we received word of some low profile dealings between the developer of those controversial condos on Crescent Rim, Drainage District #3, and Boise Parks.
The short version is a plan is being hatched to dump surface runoff from the condos into Ann Morrison Park. We want to make certain the Boise City Councilors are aware of it, but more importantly the taxpaying public. The laws require surface water to be collected “onsite” for commercial properties, to prevent storm sewer overload during heavy rains or snow melt.

Dumping commercial runoff into Boise Parks is not new. WinCo (between Myrtle and Front Streets) cut a deal with deposed mayor Brent Coles to route their parking lot water into Julia Davis Park in exchange for a “donated” sign (reportedly worth $50,000) on Capitol Blvd. several years ago. They claim to have a “state of the art” filtration system, but when it comes to separating antifreeze and de- icing chemicals from water, it takes some technology. We are not aware of any monitoring of the discharge into the lagoon.

One reason the Bench-Depot neighbors aren’t screaming too loudly is because they fear water collected onsite and allowed to seep out could take a right turn and ooze out the face of the rim and make a mess of the existing upscale Park Center Apartment complex. In fact, there has been a long standing problem with irrigation water saturating the area and spewing from the hillside.

A similar thing happened years ago along Warm Springs Avenue after septic tank seepage from Warm Springs Mesa caused mud slides. The cure was a sewer system.

In the case of the Crescent Rim condo development, there is no problem–YET. There are no condos or parking lot, but that is comming soon. Looks like the city will “bail” the developer out of a water problem. The proposal on the table calls for a discharge rate of about 450 gallons per minute–which will occur only during rain storms of heavy snow melt.

We question the wisdom–and propriety–of discharging runoff into the waters of the little known stream which meanders along the base of the rim within the park. This deal needs to have public scrutiny before Boise City becomes the facilitator to action which could cause an environmental impact.

The proposed 1 CFS discharge of water into the public stream needs to be monitored closely BEFORE it is a done deal.

The GUARDIAN also has long been concerned about the legality of Drainage District #3 having taxing authority, but none of the commissioners is elected. A law office sends names to a judge to APPOINT these three guys. It seems highly irregular to allow absolutely no public vote for officials who have authority to tax our property. These are the guys who are a party to cutting the deal with the developer who doesn’t want to follow the law and collect surface runoff on site.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Do they know that 1 CFS is 448 gals per MINUTE and 26,930 gals in just one hour? If something gets flooded who is liable? The Drainage District? The City? And then it all flows into the river.

  2. Oh, man! It’s amazing how our officials can keep coming up, time after time, with new ways to ignore, screw with, screw up and/or outright ignore the law, rules and public.

    BTW, what ever happened to the guy who was collecting tar and feathers? We need him!!!!

  3. I’m working in eastern Idaho weekdays for a while but I see the local politicians are still up to their old tricks. I imagine our local politicians are dreaming of moving up to the big leagues where they can screw up the whole world rather than just Boise and Ada County. Rumsfeld is a good mentor for them. They can learn from Rumsfeld how to justify the unjustifiable.

  4. Same thing happened in Eagle, developer Bob Moffit dumped his parking lot runoff from a 5 acre development into a canal that feeds directly into the Boise River less than a mile below—bet the trout LOVE all those asphault tailings……who is monitoring this stuff?????Dept of Water Rescarces????

  5. ok, can anti-freeze, de-icing chemicals and whatever else people dump into parking lots really be filtered out before the water hits the public dump site ie the pulic park?

    Has the city really done it’s homework to see if it’s just smoke and mirrors and a well written piece of ….. antifreeze or really checked into the proposed filtration system? You know, with a critical eye as if their children and grandchildren were going to live and play in proximity to the proposed drainage area. With so much at stake – well just wildlife, ducks, geese and birds at Julia Davis (you just may shoot one of those and feed it to your kids), but in Ann Morrison, the water will dump into Logger’s Creek (?) before it goes into the river. This way the kids can come into contact with the chemicals first hand along with the wild life.
    Will the public parks start being off limits for children? “Just stay in the house kiddies and we will go play at the gym later.”

    Developers cannot be trusted…and this one has been particularly sleezy in his dealing with the city. Bounce him back to where he came from. Oh, yeah, we are only the citizens of this city, we don’t have a say it what goes on in it.

    Time to start emailing City Hall (beat you to it, HH) before it’s too late.

  6. The City of Boise and Drainage District #3 (along with Garden City, ITD, ACHD & BSU) are Co-permittees on the local EPA stormwater permit. The stormwater permit requires that the Co-permittees use a comprehensive master plan to implement and enforce controls to reduce the discharge of pollutants from areas of new development and significant redevelopment.

    The stormwater permit also incorporates by reference Title 8, Chapter 15, The City of Boise Storm Water Management and Discharge Control Ordinance (adopted May 2000). City of Boise Section 8-15-03 specifies that to minimize the discharge of pollutants to storm drains new developments and redevelopment projects which require a building permit are required to submit for approval a stormwater management plan.

    These stormwater management plans require (among other things) the prevention of any direct discharge of untreated stormwater and nonstormwater either on or off-site; the prevention of increased post-development discharge rates; and the removal of a minimum amount of annual total suspended solids generated from development or redevelopment runoff prior to any off-site discharge.

    As usual the city council has the authority to modify the requirements BUT nowhere does it say that Parks can do it on their own. So it appears that the agreement, as reported, with the Crescent Rim Condo development to run the stormwater to Ann Morrison park pond does not meet these requirements.

    EPA has been taking a number of enforcement actions in Idaho over the past two years for stormwater discharge violations. So if Crescent Rim development does not have the required stormwater management plan in place prior to construction it would be very easy for any citizen to request a compliance inspection by EPA.

  7. So, just who wants to join me in requesting a compliance inspection by the EPA? I am not certain as to who to ask, so I will just email the Mayor, the Council and the EPA. This way no one will feel left out. I would hate to do that!

  8. E-mail addresses in case you need them:

    Mayor Council
    [email protected]; [email protected]

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