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Apr 04

Prioritizing Stormwater Issues

Posted on April 4, 2023 at 8:09 AM by County Council

The one thing I learned while out meeting many residents while campaigning for County Council District 7 is that this county has a lot of stormwater issues our residents are having to deal with. These problems include creek erosion, overland erosion, and insufficient stormwater design. I wish I had a dime for every time a homeowner said to me, “I used to be able to walk across that creek.” Of course, one big problem is within the Heritage Subdivision where there are multiple issues that include subsidence and stormwater issues that have impacted some homes within the subdivision.

The County was fortunate to get American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds via the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to fund a stormwater watershed study and to fund addressing some of the storm sewer problems within the Heritage subdivision. In fact, the County is currently working with a stormwater consulting firm hired to study the watershed within the Heritage subdivision. Their report was completed March 31.   

When I began my career over 32 years ago as a civil engineer for St. Louis County Highway Department, I was exposed to a variety of stormwater problems throughout St. Louis County. It was a big problem for St. Louis County then, as it is a big problem in St. Charles County today.  While storm sewers designed to collect runoff and accepted by the County for maintenance are County responsibility, most local creeks are on private property and are not owned or maintained by the county and so are not county responsibility.   Back in 1990, St. Louis County got creative and decided to use cable TV franchise fee revenue (fees that the state has now legislated be cut in half by mid-2027) to address stormwater infrastructure problems. Fortunately for St. Louis County, they share district boundaries with the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), which took over management of stormwater issues within St. Louis County. Unfortunately for St. Charles County, there isn’t a sewer district in St. Charles County that would manage these types of issues. Outside of the major cities in this county, including St. Peters, St. Charles, and O’Fallon, there is not an entity that manages stormwater problems.  

In 1972, representatives of St. Charles County and the major cities at that time met to discuss creating such a sewer district within St. Charles County but the measure did not proceed as the cities at that time did not want a separate sewer district. If it had passed, the sewer district would be managing storm sewer projects within St. Charles County today.

I believe that something needs to be done about stormwater problems in St. Charles County.  What exactly?  I do not know but I do know that I’m making this a priority!