MOUNT VERNON — City officials recently met with representatives from Woolpert Inc., a consulting firm from Columbus, to discuss environmental regulations established by the federal government that go into effect this year.
These regulations are aimed against environmental pollution and bringing awareness to municipalities, said Mayor Richard Mavis.
“One of the things that was pretty clear is we are already doing many of the issues they discussed,” he said.
The city was notified prior to this meeting about these new standards, though some of the information provided in the meeting came at a surprise.
The salt/sand mixture that is leftover on the streets from winter weather road maintenance is swept up and is used the following year in the mixture.
“We didn’t know that the material we sweep up has to be taken to a landfill,” said Mavis. “But according to this new regulation, once the salt has been used, you have to take it to a certified landfill to dispose because when it gets put on the ground, the salt would get contaminated with oil, gas and dirt from vehicles.”
Another major area effected by the regulation are the streets catch basins which will require the city to properly label each collection basin with indication that the water dumped in the drain goes in local streams and rivers.
Mavis explained that this was done with the storm water collectors put in along Gay Street. Looking at the collectors, residents will see a cast iron plate with a picture of a fish and information that prohibits dumping.
Several other issues were discussed during the meeting in regards to not storing chemical near drains in buildings; training employees on proper chemical management and disposal; listing all city facilities that are subject to the regulations as well as listing all maintenance items used in and around city properties; applying road salt and maintaining its storage; and properly managing herbicide and pesticide usage and inventory.
Many of the regulation requirements, Mavis said, are in place as standard practice of city departments. The only particular the city would have to implement is the recording of such actions on a form that can be studied by the Environmental Protection Agency in the case of an inspection.