21 want Lewisburg post

Friday, March 11, 2011

Twenty-one people have applied to be Lewisburg's next director of stormwater and codes, a position recognized by city councilmen as important because of state orders that threatened civil penalties for non-compliance with environmental laws.

Three "minor issues" have been resolved in an order from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, according to Greg Lowe who was promoted from the codes and stormwater job to be the city's economic development director.

Meanwhile, the city is reapplying for a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit, Lowe said. MS4 permits have been likened to state permits for sewage treatment plants to protect rivers, creeks and streams from pollution. Most frequently, the stormwater issue is sedimentation such as mud in water flowing from construction sites.

Nearing his first two weeks on the job, City Manager David Orr said he didn't anticipate hiring someone within two weeks or more. Feb. 25 was the deadline for applicants to submit resumes for the job with a salary range of $25,000 to $45,000.

Fifteen of the applicants list a Lewisburg address while: two live at Shelbyville; two live at Culleoka; one's in Chapel Hill; and one's in Woodstock, Ill.

Road grit and leaked petroleum products are a major concern when rain flows across parking lots, driveways and public streets. Corey Pleas, a former stormwater coordinator here, was mapping the flow of water toward storm drains.

It's a concern for the Tennessee Department of Transportation - so much that TDOT has an MS4 permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. It's up for renewal next year, according to Barry Brown, TDOT's environmental compliance office chief.

Brown had a field crew in Lewisburg a few months ago to survey drainage conditions on state roads through the city.

Routine drainage of rainwater from streets might eventually result in devices to permit grit to drop from the water and there could be systems to separate the petroleum products from water before it drains to creeks, rivers and streams.

"It's to clean up streams for future generations," Brown said, qualifying his remarks about what will be done because information is still being gathered before decisions are made on what to do.

"To date," he said, "we've covered 5,000 miles of roadway and labeled over 60,000 features - culverts and such," Brown said.

TDOT and cities frequently have the same streets to monitor.

Both face challenges in the event of a fire, or chemical spill, Brown explained. Firefighting is exempt now, but such emergency crews could use practices to prevent pollution from water flowing from a burning building.

"They're usually pretty good about it," Brown said.

During the weeks between Feb. 9 and 25, the number of applicants for the stormwater-codes job here quadrupled. The city's employment application continues to include a question asking if the applicant's current employer may be contacted. Since the applications are public records, there's no guarantee that applicants names won't become known.

A quick review of applications shows that those interested in the job have experience in the field of stormwater management that ranges from none, to extensive.