ST. ALBANS CITY — On Monday night, the St. Albans City Council gave initial approval to a new, combined stormwater ordinance that would create a stormwater utility and meet several requirements placed on the city by the state to protect Rugg and Stevens brooks.

“This is a huge step toward cleaning up St. Albans Bay,” said Chip Sawyer, the city’s director of planning and development. “Quite frankly, we don’t have much of a choice.”

Much of the proposed work is required under the city’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, which is aimed at addressing runoff into Rugg and Stevens brooks, both of which the state has determined are impaired. The state is in the process of updating the permit to incorporate the city’s obligations under the Lake Champlain TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load), which established phosphorous limits for Lake Champlain, including St. Albans Bay.

Failure to comply with permit requirements could subject the city to fines, court orders and consent decrees, he explained.

The stormwater utility would create a separate fund to cover the costs of stormwater improvements based on a per parcel fee. It is planned to take effect July 1.

The anticipated fee for the first year is $2.50 per month for a residence with one Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) of impervious surface defined as 3,000 square feet. Lots with 6,000 square feet of impervious would be charged $5 per month for two ERUs and the fee for a lot with 4,500 square feet of impervious would be $3.75.

For more on the proposed utility, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.