SIGNIFICANT PHOSPHOROUS LOAD DECREASES IN PARK CITY WATERSHED


Since 2000 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified uncontrolled storm water runoff as one of the largest remaining sources of water quality impairment in Summit County and the United States. Storm water can cause significant water quality degradation, increased flooding, increased erosion, and channel instability. Storm water runoff often carries pollutants such as oil, salts, sediments, fertilizers, and pesticides into waterways.

The newly released 2007 East Canyon Watershed Sub Basin Water Quality Monitoring Results shows that Park City significantly reduced the level of contaminants (phosphorous and total suspended solids) in the East Canyon Creek watershed. This study, funded by Summit County, measured that the level of contaminants in these areas had decreased to 18 percent. In 2000, nearly 50 percent of the total phosphorous load within the watershed came from Park City.
Jeff Schoenbacher, Park City’s Environmental Coordinator, attributes the improvement in water quality to the City’s Storm Water Management Plan that went into effect in 2002. Under that plan, the City requires pre and post construction storm water controls for all construction activities within the City in order to limit sediment loss and improve the quality of storm water run-off. The plan also requires public and contractor education and the maintenance of sediment detention basins to precipitate out the sediment instead of allowing it entering watershed. “These are encouraging results and a testimony to the City’s commitment to enforce the storm water institutional controls and required engineering controls for new developments.” Schoenbacher explained.

He commends Park City’s Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement Officers for their contributions to this effort saying the “deserve enormous credit for their work in educating contractors and ensuring that the storm water controls are installed.” These continued cooperative efforts by the City and the construction community are essential to reducing further the sediment loss and improving the quality of the East Canyon Creek Watershed, he added.
A draft copy of the Water Quality Monitoring Report is available at http://www.eastcanyoncreek.org. In addition, the City’s Storm Water Management Annual Report is available on-line through the City’s Environmental Data Viewer at http://mapserv.utah.gov/ParkCityGIS/.
For further information, contact Jeff Schoenbacher, Park City Environmental Coordinator, at 435-615-5058.