On January 11th, 2021, a consent decree was signed by U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane in USA et al. v. City of Colorado Springs, 1:16-cv-02745-JLK. The consent decree requires the City of Colorado Springs to take actions to address claims asserted in the amended complaint.
The Department of Justice, the EPA and the State of Colorado alleged claims against the City of Colorado Springs in an amended complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on Jan. 26, 2017. The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, and the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Pueblo were joined as plaintiffs on Feb. 16, 2017. The amended complaint generally alleged that the City violated its MS4 Permit for its municipal stormwater management program by failing to require the installation and maintenance of stormwater management structures at residential and commercial developments. The complaint also alleged that the City failed to enforce requirements to prevent polluted stormwater from running off active construction sites, failed to provide adequate funding and staffing for the stormwater program, and failed to adequately ensure the maintenance of public and private facilities.
The City has since taken significant steps to improve its stormwater management program. The consent decree requires the City to take additional actions, including developing standard operating procedures and increased staff training for critical elements of its stormwater management program. In addition, under the decree, the City will provide stormwater quality treatment using an innovative approach that identifies treatment deficits and remedies based on MS4 Permit requirements. The consent decree also requires the City to complete stream restoration projects in the upper Fountain Creek watershed. These projects could include habitat restoration, channel restoration, constructed wetlands and similar projects intended to reduce stormwater pollutants entering Fountain Creek or its tributaries. Finally, the consent decree requires the City to ensure adequate staffing and funding is provided for the stormwater program.