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City prepares for new and expensive stormwater regulations

Alhambra City Council discussed Monday evening a new state mandate that could cost the city 20 million dollars in the next 14 years. City Environmental Compliance Specialist David Dolphin explained the new municipal stormwater and runoff regulations, which will measure and limit the amount of metals and chemicals that get thrown into Alhambra's stormwater drainage.

Because of water being improperly filtered before going into the state's rivers and seas, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board has taken steps to better measure the Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, from each city in Los Angeles County. These measurements, the board says, will prevent chemicals from getting into large bodies of water.

Council members acknowledged they are not prepared for the new mandate. "I really do not like it when the state or county or somebody who is above the municipalities comes with these rules and procedures," Councilman Gary Yamauchi said to Dolphin during the meeting. "And even yourself many times were hinting that we've never done this before and don't know what to expect."

If the regulations are implemented, Alhambra will have to pay millions in the coming years to maintain the mechanism used to capture chemical substances and to hold residents accountable for what they throw into their drain. Council members acknowledged they did not include the new regulations in the city's budget and a project as costly as this should have been included in elections.

"It's essentially like an additional tax," Councilman Luis Ayala said. "This sounds like something that would come out of an initiative that voters would have to approve."

Council members also approved pre-construction at the site of a proposed multilevel parking structure on 1st and Main streets. If approved, the five-and-a-half-story structure will be built on the parking lot behind Charlie’s Trio and offer 290 spots to address the increasing demand for parking in downtown Alhambra, according to city staff. The pre-construction process, which includes soil testing and a design review, will take approximately three months.

Not able to attend the meeting? You can watch it in its entirety here.

City Council usually meets every second and fourth Monday of the month on the second floor of City Hall: 111 S. First St., Alhambra, Calif., 91801. The next regular meeting will be on Monday, July 8 at 5:30 pm in the Alhambra Civic Center Library.

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2 thoughts on “City prepares for new and expensive stormwater regulations”

  1. If the City of Alhambra (i.e., the politicians) cared HALF as much on quality of life issues for residents and communities at-large—as they do pampering and fulfilling the wishes of developers, maybe we’d have a decent-looking city rather than Apartment/Condo Central with trash-strewn streets.

    One start (for tackling storm water runoff) is for the City of Alhambra to have our police department start handing out littering fines to all the smokers that congregate at the Starbucks and other commercial establishments.

    I pick up coffee every morning at the Starbucks located on Valley and Atlantic and there are usually at least 4-5 men standing around spitting, smoking and tossing their cigarette butts on the ground—and this is prevalent throughout the city. It’s disgusting.

  2. Isn’t it the city council’s job to be prepared? Maybe they ought to get off the golf course and do their jobs. They should do something besides berate homeowners to earn their lifetime medical benefits.