New storm water ordinance annoys and confuses some Buchanan residents

BUCHANAN, Mich. -- A new storm water ordinance has some of those living in Buchanan annoyed and confused.

But city leaders said the new ordinance is necessary in order to have clean drinking water.

The ordinance is also helping to clean up McCoy Creek.

City leaders said what residents put down the city storm drains ends up in the creek, and in turn, the creek replenishes the aquifer.

Donna Southwell the Storm water Manager of the city of Buchanan said, "under the new ordinance city workers can no longer wash city vehicles on what's call impervious surfaces, which is concrete or asphalt, they can take it to a commercial wash, do it in the grass or gravel, but that absorbs it and will filter all of the chemicals that might go into the creek."

Grass clippings from mowing can no longer be left at the curb or in the street because the debris likely ends up in the storm drain too. Both are changes city employees must follow and Buchanan city officials are hoping Buchanan residents will as well.

Southwell said, "we've heard rumors that people think they're going to get arrested for, you know, washing their car in their driveway and that's absolutely not true."

If city employees happen to to see you violating the new storm water ordinance rules that they have to follow, they will simply hang a bright yellow warning tag on your screen door along with a flier to educate you on a more environmentally friendly approach to what they spotted you doing. The whole purpose is to educate the community to help keep the environment healthy.

However the new storm water ordinance is catching a lot of Buchanan residents off guard.

Tim Miller said, "I think the community should have been notified by flier or whatever, something sent out in the mail, instead of all of a sudden pass an ordinance that we don't know about." Miller had heard he won't be able to wash his car in his driveway anymore, something he said he has been doing all of his life. However ABC 57 informed Miller he will still be able to wash his car in his driveway simply because his driveway is made up of stone, dirt and grass.

Monica Constable also a Buchanan resident said she hadn't heard about the new storm water ordinance for city workers. "There is a lot of ordinances in Buchanan, but I didn't know about that one."

After ABC 57 explained that the city is hoping residents adopt some of the practices their city employees are now mandated to follow she explained that she does those things already. When our crew stopped by Constable's house, she was bagging her lawn clippings with her son's help. She said she thinks more people should follow these practices considering the storm water is recycled into drinking water via the creek's natural aquifer.

Southwell wanted to reassure Buchanan residents that, "nobody is going to get a ticket, nobody is going to jail for mowing their grass and putting their clippings in the street, it's just not good practices."




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