NDOT, EPA Take Unprecedented Steps to Protect Water

By controlling stormwater through better management of the water that flows on and off of the hundreds of road projects and construction sites managed by NDOT the state is protecting its waterways.

📅   Mon August 08, 2016 - West Edition


By controlling stormwater through better management of the water that flows on and off of the hundreds of road projects and construction sites managed by NDOT the state is protecting its waterways.
By controlling stormwater through better management of the water that flows on and off of the hundreds of road projects and construction sites managed by NDOT the state is protecting its waterways.

Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the Nevada Board of Examiners has approved a Consent Decree between the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Consent Decree is a resolution that acknowledges past alleged violations regarding stormwater management and memorializes an agreed upon path forward. By controlling stormwater through better management of the water that flows on and off of the hundreds of road projects and construction sites managed by NDOT the state is taking proactive measures to protect its streams, rivers and waterways that Nevadans rely on.

“Effective and efficient stormwater management and clean water is a top priority for the state, and Nevada has chosen to invest in a strong program to preserve one of our greatest natural resources,” Sandoval said. “Clean water is important to us all and we must take measures to protect Nevada's water for today and future generations. I would like to thank the EPA for its cooperation as we developed a plan that best suits our state, our resources and creates a sustainable path forward.”

As part of the agreement with the EPA, the state of Nevada has initiated an unprecedented effort to help preserve and protect Nevada's water resources through the development of the NDOT Stormwater Division. With the passage of Senate Bill 324 by the Nevada Legislature in 2015 and support from the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, NDOT has received the necessary resources to build a strong and sustainable program to protect the quality of stormwater exiting NDOT roads and facilities. The Board of Examiners approved a payment of $60,000 to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and $60,000 to the EPA, as part of the Consent Decree.

The terms approved by the Board of Examiners included the acknowledgement that NDOT is adding 59 positions and investing more than $13 million to its stormwater program creating the Division which includes enhanced stormwater improvements on every construction project, specialized equipment, dedicated staff, internal training, public outreach and detailed mapping throughout Nevada. The mapping information is collected in a geographic information system (GIS) database to utilize in future designs.

Leading by example, NDOT will enhance stormwater management on every department worksite. NDOT recently made improvements to the water quality systems at its Reno maintenance yard, which will help preserve the quality of stormwater entering the nearby Truckee River. Water quality improvements are planned on projects in southern Nevada on the U.S. 95 Centennial Bowl in northwest Las Vegas, which has storm drains that connect directly to the Las Vegas Wash, similar projects in northern Nevada along U.S. 50 Cave Rock Tunnel and state Route 28 Multi-Use Path will help protect Lake Tahoe from erosion and sediment runoff.

Specialized state-of-the art equipment that is crucial in environmental preservation also has been ordered. This includes culvert flusher trucks; self-propelled sweepers; and radio-controlled track loaders, which allow materials to be cleaned out of pipes that are challenging to reach. Staff members, solely dedicated to the stormwater program, also are being hired and extensive training is taking place for all NDOT employees who work with stormwater.

“Reducing potential water quality impacts from construction, maintenance and other roadway activities is a top priority for us and we will continually come up with innovative ideas to advance our stormwater program with a strong commitment to protecting Nevada's water,” said Rudy Malfabon, NDOT director.

Taking innovative steps to create stormwater awareness, NDOT has enlisted communication students from the University of Nevada, Reno to develop an outreach plan to announce new stormwater initiatives to the public. A new campaign will be launched later this summer.

For more information, visit www.nevadadot.com/stormwater.