A: Stormwater runoff is water from rain which flows from rooftops, over paved streets, sidewalks, parking lots, across bare soil, through lawns, and storm drains.
Q: What is sediment pollution?
A: As stormwater runoff flows, it collects and transports silt, soil, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizer, oil, grease, litter, and other pollutants and drains into creeks, streams, and rivers which eventually reach the ocean. This is sediment pollution.
These are pictures of sediment pollution caused by developer LGI on the east side of Fort Worth. City of Fort Worth staff and elected officials have known about this for almost 5 years now.Q: Did you know?
- The EPA identifies sediment as the most common pollutant in rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs.
- Construction activities account for 70% of sediment pollution.
Sediment pollution is considered a violation in the City of Fort Worth, but LGI and other developers in east Fort Worth (DR Horton, Benchmark, Huffines, and David Weekly) are not being held accountable for this by the City of Fort Worth.
Our neighborhoods first brought this sediment pollution to the City of Fort Worth's attention in 2017 when DR Horton clear cut a 50-acre forest on a hill on Randol Mill. The unmaintained drainage ditches and inadequate drainage design by DR Horton approved by the City of Fort Worth is a recipe for disaster for property owners and motorists along that stretch of Randol Mill.
This is how City of Fort Worth staff and elected officials responded to their citizens over the last 5 years.
- The drainage ditches along parts of Randol Mill were cleaned out a couple of times over the last 5 years.
- We learned the City's minimum standards factor in velocity of stormwater runoff but not volume of stormwater runoff when issuing permits. While City of Fort Worth staff now recognizes volume as pretty important, City of Fort Worth staff is still studying whether their minimum standards should include considering volume of stormwater runoff when issuing permits.
- Since the LGI development on Randol Mill and Cooks Lane, City of Fort Worth staff now recognizes all development permits are not one-size-fits-all and should be considered on an individual basis. No changes have been made though, the City of Fort Worth is still studying this too.
- We learned the City of Fort Worth does not have an adequate number of city inspectors to ensure compliance by developers.
- We learned the City of Fort Worth justifies a certain amount of stormwater pollution by developers and refers to this as "interim conditions". Interim conditions are expected to exist on most construction sites until the project is ultimately built out. These interim conditions can last for years.
- We learned developers love to build in Fort Worth because once they receive their permit, developers know they can do whatever they want to their original design because no one in the City of Fort Worth is watching.
- The City of Fort Worth is using a Stormwater Criteria Manual from September 29, 2015. 2015 CFW Stormwater Criteria Manual.pdf (fortworthtexas.gov)
- The City of Fort Worth is using a Stormwater Master Plan from April 17, 2018. Stormwater Management Program Master Plan Update – Welcome to the City of Fort Worth (fortworthtexas.gov)
- The City of Fort Worth is using Stormwater Management Ordinances from 2010. § 31-105 STORMWATER MANAGEMENT. (amlegal.com)
- The City of Fort Worth and LGI put in a stormwater drain under Cooks Lane and Randol Mill which drains stormwater to the Trinity River. The design is inadequate.
- The City of Fort Worth realized their Urban Forestry Ordinances were lacking after DR Horton clear cut 50 acres of post oak trees at their Trinity Oaks subdivision. The City of Fort Worth is still studying their Urban Forestry Ordinances too.
- Developer LGI clear cut 100-acre forest on the second highest point in Tarrant County on Randol Mill and Cooks Lane for their Oak Ridge subdivision.
- Developer Benchmark removed almost all of the 100s of years old post oak trees on Randol Mill for their Randol Mill Valley Estates subdivision.
- Developer Huffines clear cut their Mockingbird Estates subdivision on Randol Mill.
- Developer David Weekly clear cut their Highwoods Village subdivision on Randol Mill.
- After years of gross sediment pollution, Code Compliance finally made a decision to fine developer LGI for their sediment pollution but someone above staff level is allowing LGI the opportunity to come into compliance before actually fining them.
The City of Fort Worth knows the existing infrastructure for stormwater runoff on the east side is inadequate, yet the City of Fort Worth continues to permit development on the east side at a staggering rate knowing full well this development will only add to the existing problem!
Adding insult to injury is Fort Worth City staff readily admitting in the article referenced below that they can't fix the problems they created because they don't have the money.
A friend of mine likes to say, "If you're in a hole, quit digging!"
Quit digging, Fort Worth!
The City of Fort Worth isn't the only city suffering similar growing pains. Maybe the City of Fort Worth will consider learning from other cities experiencing similar problems.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana had similar issues and last year their City Council put a 12-month moratorium on development in place due to stormwater and flooding concerns. Baton Rouge took input from subject matter experts, developers, and property owners and updated their stormwater master plan and building codes. Storm water master plan implementation means end of development moratorium (wbrz.com)
This is Fort Worth, Cowtown, Texas! Take the bull by the horns and stop permitting development on the east side of Fort Worth until our outdated Stormwater Management Ordinances, Stormwater Management Program Master Plan, Stormwater Criteria Manual, Urban Forestry Ordinances, and pitiful minimum standards are updated and steps are taken to ensure responsible development in Fort Worth.
Home ownership is the realization of the American Dream. It's the biggest investment in ourselves and our families and is the cornerstone of a strong community. At no time should local government compromise our dreams to increase tax revenue through permitting development the existing infrastructure cannot support.
Mayor Mattie Parker and City Council.....represent us!!