Oregon City Council unanimously agreed at a meeting April 26 to create the full-time position of “environmental specialist” for three years to develop, implement, coordinate and manage the city’s Stormwater Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) Reduction Program.
The program is a requirement of the city’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit that must be established by June, 2012, according to Public Service Director Paul Roman.
The position will also help the department with other environmental issues related to the wastewater treatment plant’s NPDES permit requirements, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency stormwater phase II regulations, Wolf Creek Riparian Corridor project and Big Ditch Wetland Mitigation documentation, inspection, and reporting, according to Roman.
The main reason to create the position instead of hiring a consultant is to save money by not paying overhead and profit, as well as travel expenses to a company or firm, according to Roman.
Currently, ARCADIS is conducting a No Feasible Alternative Analysis for the city, along with other wastewater treatment plant and sewer analyses, at an average rate of $132.21 per hour, ($353,000/2,670 hours total), according to Roman.
“Also, due to the large degree of fieldwork, and the need to work directly with city personnel and the general public, it also is more prudent for the new position or individual to work directly out of the city offices,” said Roman. “I believe this approach will be more effective in implementing the I&I Reduction Program as well as serving the general public by having an individual who is readily available to address questions or concerns.”
The city has been vigorously addressing flooding problems that have besieged many homeowners in the last couple of years following heavy rains. Since then, temporary flow meters were installed at five locations in the sanitary sewer system to reduce or eliminate excessive storm water from getting into the wastewater collection system. Flow monitoring, video detection and smoke testing help identify inflow and infiltration sources.
The hourly rate of the non-classified and non-bargaining position is $24.28 plus $11.84 per hour for health insurance and benefits, or an annual salary of $50,515.66.
Council later in the meeting unanimously voted to approve Mayor Mike Seferian’s appointment of Donald Nelson, Jr., of Brown Road, to the position, effective April 27.
Nelson has worked with the city as an engineer intern since 2006.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a master’s of science degree in Geology with an emphasis in Environmental Geochemistry from the University of Toledo, said Seferian.
“Mr. Nelson is extremely qualified to be the environmental specialist,” said Seferian.
“He comes highly recommended,” said Councilman James Seaman, “and I know he’s had a very positive track record with our city.”
Councilman Terry Reeves jokingly asked Nelson how he was going to save the city money “right away.”
“It’s going to be Paul and I working together to start the I&I Reduction Program, and hopefully help the city with the problems we’ve had with our sanitary sewers recently and with the flooding, and things like that,” said Nelson. “As far as right away, we hope to get a smoke testing program or something going on here this summer and hopefully we’ll have some good results from that and start to target areas we have issues with. We’ll go from there.”
The environmental specialist’s duties include procuring field data, sampling water/soil/sediment and interpreting data, conducting inspections, performing survey work, and keeping records.
The specialist will also:
• Develop and implement effective outreach and education campaigns for the city’s inflow/infiltration (I&I) reduction program, including but not limited to, implementation of web based information, providing written materials, and facilitating public meetings;
• Inspect city infrastructure for issues related to I&I reduction;
• Inspect Best Management Practices (BMPs) on construction and development sites;
• Review and interpret erosion and sediment control plans for proposed construction and development projects;
• Investigate threats to water quality