The Board of County Commissioners has been working on several issues relating to sensible deregulation of certain codes and standards in Sedgwick County. Rest assured that the safety and security of our citizens is a high priority for the commission and these decisions do not affect that.
The most recent decision centered on lowering stormwater quality standards. If you have had flood damage this year or know someone that has, this might alarm you. You ask, why would we lower the quality standards on stormwater now? Will this increase the risk of future flooding? The answer is no, it will not. The fact is, stormwater quality and stormwater quantity are unrelated.
Quality only refers to the pollutants or particles that are picked up in the stormwater. Quantity refers to the amount of stormwater collecting in streams and ponds that threaten our community with flooding. There is no correlation between particles in the water and flooding.
Reducing the regulation on stormwater quality puts us back in strict compliance with state and federal guidelines, nothing more, nothing less.
An expanded stormwater quality code was adopted in November 2010. The primary reason this regulation was expanded was to simplify knowing whether a property was under the regulation or not. It was not expanded because the decision makers believed that more stormwater quality regulation would reduce flooding.
We have technology today that can easily show whether certain properties are in the urbanized area and therefore under federal water quality guidelines. Historically, only about 10 applicants in the unincorporated area would approach the county in a typical year asking for permission to build something where this regulation comes into play.
Most of the particulates or pollutants in the stormwater come from agricultural land which has always been exempt from these regulations. Reducing the regulation in the non-agricultural unincorporated area of the county will have a negligible effect on the amount of particles in the water.
Again, smart governance means not expanding burdensome regulations needlessly. Our regulations must have purpose. Since we have no data that connects particles in the water to flooding, why would we arbitrarily expand these regulations for simplicity? That’s not a good reason when people’s private property rights are being limited especially when the regulation does not actually help anything.
Please let me know what you think.