Behind the Springs podcast: You have to be smarter than the raccoons

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Animals and mannequin feet are just a couple things the City’s Stormwater Enterprise has to deal with daily. Stormwater Manager Richard Mulledy joins Jen and Ted to talk about the City’s amazing stormwater infrastructure progress. Mulledy even fesses up to not having ditched playing in the ditches when he was a kid and tells the story that propelled him to the position he’s in today. 


two photos first one is of lifelike mannequin foot sticking out of the ground. photo two is a raccoon in a flooded storm drain

You never know what you are going to find on the job when you work for Stormwater Enterprise. Listen to the podcast to learn the stories behind these photos.

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Episode Transcript

Intro: (00:00)
Behind the springs. Who's gonna win the a the quiz? I am. All right, an inside look at your local government. 25,000 wrong Jen, 80,000 wrong. [inaudible] Colorado Springs, nearly 500,000 people. Olympic city, USA, garden of the Gods. Pikes peak. It's a growing city. Our local government has a lot of employees. What exactly do they do? How does it impact my life? This is where you find out behind the springs and inside. Look at your local government.

Jen: (00:40)
Are you someone who loves the rain?

Richard: (00:43)
Personally, I enjoy a nice rain storm now and then,

Jen: (00:46)
well Ted, our guest today, he has a love hate relationship with rain and that's because he manages our city's stormwater enterprise.

Ted: (00:54)
The problem is a lot of people don't know much about stormwater. So Richard Malady, we're glad you're here. Welcome to behind the springs. I'm sure it's now your new favorite podcast. I know you're a listener. Oh thank you. Yeah, well I mean I'm a little at this point cause I thought I was going to be on Ted talks. I mean, cause I heard that your name was Ted and I thought it was to be all ted talks here. It was going to be the highlight of my career. But you know, it's a, it's just a, it's just a Thursday.

I mean I would say this actually rivals Ted talks at this point, our amount of listeners. Um, we basically have the entire city listening and that's right every other week to, uh, to learn more about their local government. And that's why we have you here. Uh, first question, and I was teasing this from the last episode, it always gets me, I've had to write out stormwater a couple times. Is it one word or two?

Uh, one word. Yeah. Yeah. Unbelievable. But one word,

Ted: (01:47)
because Microsoft does not believe that.

Microsoft doesn't know what it's doing. Yeah. And I've written, you know, I've written him a letter, so I'm sure that strongly I'm strongly worded letter. I'm sure they will change it. And probably, you know, the dictionary perhaps.

Jen: (02:02)
It's a big deal. Do you wake up on day and say, I want to be the head of the stormwater. [inaudible]. How did you get here?

Yeah, well that's a long,

Jen: (02:11)
tell us a little bit about your background.

Okay. Well, you know, I'm, I'm actually a native of the city of Colorado Springs born here, lived, uh, um, most of my life here. Went to high school, went to liberty high school. So, um, I grew up on the southeast side actually, and they kind of moved north. And so the answer to your question is no, I didn't, I never thought that I would be the stormwater enterprise manager for the city of Colorado Springs. But you know, I got into engineering, um, got into civil engineering, which kind of the engineering water resources and stormwater falls within that. And uh, my career kind of took me here and um, few years back, the city revamped its stoneware program, really restarted create a division onto an enterprise. And I thought, you know, I was in private practice at the time as a civil engineer and I thought it'd be what a great opportunity to help our city. I mean stormwater has been a, those of us that have lived in this city for awhile, kind of bending up and down issue for 50 years. 50 years. Yeah. And so, um, I really thought it's an opportunity for me to do something for the city that I, I grew up in that I love. So, um, that's why I came to the city.

Jen: (03:16)
Awesome. Happy to still have you here.

Thanks. Nice.

Ted: (03:19)
Well, do you have any, any roots going back to when you're a kid that, uh, that you, you might remember some, uh, some bad issues with stormwater as a kid or something that you noticed that just kind of went up with you or were you one of those awful kids? Did you not ditch playing in the ditch? Where are you, where are you one of those ditch players?

Oh Man, I didn't know you didn't ask this question. I'm going to, I'm going to honestly answer that question.

Ted: (03:39)
Okay. Right. That's what we're here for.

First I have to tell you, I was just like, you've had three, I think you had the mayor, you had Corey farc from streets, streets, operations and maintenance. I just wanted to make sure this one was better than Cory's. More entertained.

Ted: (03:53)
You guys are rivals.

Okay, good. So yeah, and certainly don't want to be better than mayor, you know, because that's a bad move to out shine. So it's like thread the needle. You know, this is going to be a tough interview for me.

Ted: (04:05)
Well you're doing great, but you are getting, you're getting close to the bar that the mayor set, so maybe tone it but bring up your childhood.

Richard: (04:13)
Okay. Actually it's kind of funny. I did have a, uh, an event in my childhood that I talk about actually every once in a while, you know, the ditch playing ditches program. I was up on the north side, uh, near near liberty and one of my friends were out playing in the ditch. Um, I have to admit we were playing in the ditch, full transparency, full transparency. They have nothing to hide here. Um, and he got swept away and went under some pipes under ground, traveled for quite a ways. They'd have a water rescue, broke his, broke his tailbone.

Jen: (04:44)
He was okay.

He, he, uh, he was on the news. We were, we were in the ninth grade. He was on the news that night and they were, you know, had the ladder and they're picking him up out in the middle of the creek and it had taken his pants off so they had to like blur it. Never lived that down and high mean, you know, a couple of ninth grade friends. He's on the news with no pants and a blurred spot. Uh, I feel bad for him to this day. He probably never recovered the away.

Jen: (05:12)
And I'm sure you didn't either,

so I, you were making a joke or that, but I mean, obviously we don't want people playing in creeks, so we have that,

Jen: (05:22)
it still is tempting for kids is still a place that they're drawn to because it's different. It's kind of cool and fun. It's a tunnel.

That's right. Yeah. Yeah. Please stay away because you know, obviously when Colorado and our storms come quick and they come heavy and their thunderstorms and especially the older type infrastructure, those were designed to move water very quickly. Unfortunately you kind of see that in the older parts of city and so may not be rain where you're at, but you know, five miles up it could be raining very hard and all of a sudden here comes this wall of water and that's what happened to this, His name was Eric. And I remember that. I remember that was this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember to this day I'll never forget it,

Ted: (06:05)
so I'm going to do a quick Google search later to find that from the, from the news stations, right.

Jen: (06:10)
So that leads us into what Does into what is stormwater? If you can define for folks who hear the term and are not quite sure.

Yeah, that's a great question because you do hear stormwater. I think when people think stormwater, probably most people think of the inlets that you see those though catch area basins where it collects water off the street. They think of pipes, everyone thinks of pipes. You might think of the open drainage ways, you know, you kind of see how we can put stormwater through that. But it is much bigger than that. Um, we have a, uh, we fall under the federal clean water act under a permit called the MS four permit. So do you have a little thing that does...

Ted: (06:43)
yeah, I do. I was just getting into it there. You got the acronym alerts.

You're gonna want to queue that up.

Ted: (06:47)
I might even give you, this is the bureaucratic babble too. That was just, that was too much in that sentence. Yeah, that's that.

jen: (06:54)
What is MS4 permit? *turkey gobble sound*

Richard: (06:54)
That one was us, uh, removing the ducks and geese from our ponds.

Ted: (06:59)
Well shoot bureaucratic Babel isn't perfect for them.

Maybe those are turkeys.

Ted: (07:04)
Those are turkeys. But you know, we only have allowed our pawns either and if I see them a little bit more getting him out of there, we only have budget for Turkeys. That's right. We can't get geese or anything else. So

Richard: (07:15)
the MS 4 permit, um, that is do you mean municipally separate storm sewer system permit. What it is, is that is a, a permit that we have to hold and meet to be in compliance with the federal clean water act. And it requires a whole host of things for the city and a whole host of programs that we have to have and fund. It's also with like to call an unfunded mandate, uh, which is a fun term. That just means you have to do it. And the federal government does not give you any money to do it.

Ted: (07:47)
Well. And how are we doing being compliant with it?

Well, let me tell you, we are absolutely compliant. I mean right now as we stand, there are many components to that program. We have to regulate the construction industry and how they construct people see kind of construction sites with those silt fence, those kind of black fences, the, you know, the rock areas where they have to go in and out. Those are called vehicle tracking pads. VTC. There's another one.

Speaker 4: (08:11)
Yeah. *applause sound* We just go crazy with that.

Ted: (08:13)
Ah, see I gave the applause. I'm trigger happy over here. I hit the wrong button. *buzzer sound* That's what I meant.

Richard: (08:21)
So, um, W W we have to, uh, uh, require permitting for construction to, to, uh, ensure that, uh, stormwaters is considered and, and water quality is we have to regulate the development community and require permanent water quality facilities, stormwater quality facilities on new developments. We have to monitor our city's stormwater from a water quality perspective. So wet and dry weather every time it rains. We have people out there with gauges all through our city testing for ecoli and nutrients and metals and things like that. We have huge plan review responsibility. We have to review engineering plans and approve them. We have a maintenance obligation under that permit that says we have to provide, uh, adequate resources to maintain our facilities and creeks and waterways, you know, cleaning all these things. So it's a huge program. Uh, and there's a lot more, you know, but, uh, you know, just try and get one across there that there's, that we also, another component of stormwater is we have to build and maintain the infrastructure that is kind of public infrastructure to help keep our citizens safe and protect property and, and health. And Safety.

Jen: (09:32)
Well, you said unfunded mandate, so how are we funding it? Yeah, let's talk about that.

Richard: (09:36)
So that's here. So you know, thank you to the citizens of Colorado springs, you know, seriously. Thank you. *applause* Yes, yes, ted. Good.

Ted: (09:44)
That's when you use that. Yeah.

Ted: (09:45)
Yeah. Finally I get, I get one sound effect, right.

Jen: (09:48)
Nice work.

Yeah. If I could have one serious moment in the whole podcast, it would be seriously thanking the citizens because we, uh, last year the citizens, uh, agreed through ballot initiative on a stormwater fee and that stormwater fee was very specific on how it could be spent and spent on meeting those Ms Four, permit compliance obligations, maintaining our infrastructure and building stormwater capital projects that provide that health, safety and welfare for our public.

Speaker 2: (10:18)
And people are seeing that. I mean, they've been paying it. Yeah, they have. Yeah. You haven't noticed.

Speaker 1: (10:22)
I've been about a year. We've been, uh, it's been billing for the year. Uh, if you're a resident, you own a home and you have an active residential water service agreement with utilities. Colorado Springs, utilities are $5 per month per unit fee. Is on the water section or that bill, the everyone else kind of, and you know, industrial commercial, the municipal, the city , federal, you know, posts offices, bases, everyone else also pays that fee. It's $30 per acre on developed property. And we build them directly from the city through a third party, uh, um, billing company that mails and, and, and receives.

Ted: (11:00)
And I was at the, Two a quarterly meeting the other day. Oh, I'm so sorry. [inaudible].

Ted: (11:06)
Oh oh two a shoot. *buzzer sounds*

Richard: (11:08)

Ted: (11:09)
so that was the ballot item for the stormwater fee. So it's called two a. Um, and, and you're part of the committee, the compliance of people paying into this is pretty much like 99% isn't it?

It's very good. Yeah. We're, we're in the high nineties, I think. And that is really, first of all, I mean, that's just a testament to the citizens in their, you know, understanding of the, you know, frankly desperate need that we have to, to fund stormwater because of those compliance.

Jen: (11:34)
And, I mean, let's talk about to what, you know, what was happening before this came into it and what happens if it's not, if we don't have this funding is like massive flooding from you know, large scale but also just that neighborhood flooding. That's right. That impacts people know

Richard: (11:51)
two things there. First, you know, the before two a and there was the fee, let me just say what two a did was it created an enterprise for the city, which is kind of a business owned by the city.

Ted: (12:01)
Stormwater like the airport or a Pike's peak.

Right, right, right. So stormwater has to operate off of the revenues. It collects just like any business. So we don't use any funds now from the General Fund. Everything that we do it is solely from those fees and we can only spend those fees on those uh, um, on stormwater on eligible storm. And that's the two a committee. We report on those fees to make sure there spent correctly, that's the oversight committee.

Ted: (12:27)
And not using General Fund money that ended up freeing up money for public safety, both police and fire.

That's right. Because before it was coming out of the General Fund. And so that, that, I mean that's a huge, huge thing for the citizens. You know, we needed, we needed some more police and fire and I think the mayor and council said, Hey, you know, we could, uh, we could ask for a stormwater fee that would free that money up from the general fund and stormwater would operate just off of it's revenues. And that's what we're doing, you know, just like a business. And so I think it's a really great system. You know, I think you see the compliance because two things, one, I think people understood the need and were willing to help out with that. And then just like 2 c in Cory's program, you were doing what we said we would do. We are building those, that infrastructure. We're spending the money exactly where we said, you know, and I, and that's the key, you know, we're just, we're, we're keeping the promises that we made. I take that very seriously. You know, I said we would run this in the way we committed in that ballot. And we are, and I think that's why people are, are, are, are compliant with it.

Jen: (13:35)
Yeah. And to keep track is, I do want to mention our website, which hopefully you're aware of, but if you do, you can really keep track of some of the projects going on. What's happening in your neighborhood specifically. Like if you did have flooding in the past or

Richard: (13:52)
let me tell you what, can I tell you a little about that? Yes. So, you know, we do a lot of projects. We actually do about 70 projects a year. Last, last few years at average, 60 to 70 projects. Some of those projects are really big. You know, we have a one on sand creek south of Platte. We just finished that a $5.2 million channel stabilization. We had to rebuild the whole channel. That was the drop structure that failed a few years ago. Almost took out Platt bridge. So, you know, probably want to take care of that one.

Ted: (14:16)
Yeah. That and yeah, you know, like Jen already said, neighborhood flooding, that sort of thing.

So those are the kind of, you know, those are the, you see the big projects and those kinds of make the news, the ones you don't see are the cul-de-sac that's flooded for 30 years. And I can tell you, we have so many of those, uh, that have been on the books for decades. And you know, if there's a couple of inlets at the end of the street that don't have the capacity and the pipes crushed, it doesn't work. It doesn't seem like a huge deal unless you're the house next door where every time it rains, your basement gets flooded. And so, you know, what's been so great about this program is to be able to see people say, you see people that have an issue that's affecting them and has been affecting them, gets get solved. And then to hear them say how, how great it is, they have their issue solved. You know, and that's been a wonderful thing over the last year.

Jen: (15:05)
It's life changing for these people.

It is, you know, the, especially the small ones that are in the neighborhoods, nobody really knows about them. It's just the people that have to deal with it every single time. Right.

Ted: (15:15)
I always fight Jen for when we're going to take the break. So we'll finally take the break here and then when we come back, we're also going to talk about your relationship with rain.

Oh, I love rain.

Ted: (15:22)
that's going to be a big thing and some other funny tips that, uh, that we can give to, to residents listening to the show. So we'll be right back.

Break: (15:30)
Thanks for listening to behind the springs and inside. Look at your local government. If you're enjoying the show, please rate like and subscribe to this podcast. Did you do it yet? Come on. You know, you want to never miss an episode. Now back to Jen and Ted. Just kidding. Still me. Did you do it yet? Just click the little button. Want to know a secret? Ten and Jen's lived depend on it. Grab your phone and just do it unless you're driving then wait. okay, last thing. Seriously. Just rate like and subscribe. Back to the show.

Ted: (16:04)
All right. We have Richard Mill lady here who overlooks the stormwater enterprise for the city of Colorado Springs and I'm here in the pikes peak region. Richard, you're an anomaly because most people are always scared of drought. They love when we get the rain because that keeps our fire danger low. Kind of like what we've seen this year. Um, what's your issue? It sounds like you have a beef with rain.

Richard: (16:28)
yeah, well, no, I mean, I love rain. I love it. I love rain. Yeah.

Jen: (16:32)
You can't Say you hate it.

Yeah. You can't say you hate right now I'm from Colorado, you know,

Ted: (16:35)
but still something, something offends you, you know? Well, you know, politically correct and tell me right. It's kind of the fun of it.

But yeah, rain is lovely. I mean, every time it rains, you know, I'm sort of, uh, um, you know, twitching while I'm watching my phone, you know, I think what happens is, you know, we're a big city. You're, we're 195 square miles and we have a huge infrastructure. Um, we have about 500 miles of just underground corrugated metal pipe. We have thousands of miles of, you know, concrete pipe. We have, you know, about 130 large detention basins. I think we have probably getting the number wrong, but I'm pretty sure if 270 miles of open channel every time, every time it rains and, and by the way, tens of thousands of manholes and inlet stormwater. So every time it rains...

Ted: (17:16)
Just A few things that you can overlook. Yeah.

Yeah. Do you have a stats button when someone just gets to you know? We should ask for that too.

Jen: (17:23)
Those are interesting stats.

Ted: (17:24)
Yeah, those are interesting. But I still wanted to buzz you with something. You know what I mean? It didn't know what I wanted to buzz you with.

I am an engineer, you know, I mean, so it's like, it's all about the stats,

Jen: (17:35)
So it's that nervousness of is everything going to be working the way it should.

What it is is we're, you know, we're a hundred years old. Our city's a hundred. We're going on our 150, 150 years old. What is it, the something.

Ted: (17:44)
Sesquicentennial. Spell it for us.

That's not going to work for me. Can I call a friend?

Ted: (17:49)
yeah, we're called the mayor.

Jen: (17:53)
We're a 148 years old right now. So you're right.

Richard: (17:56)
So what happens is, you know, infrastructure does not last forever. And you know, we have pipe that was put in a hundred and a hundred years ago. And so, um, you know, infrastructure is constantly deteriorating. And so every time it rains I'm really happy cause like everybody else, I want a nice yard and I want my vegetables to grow. But also every time we get a decent rain, we have a number of problems. We have, you know, just it, you know, two weeks ago we had a bunch of rain on a Sunday. You guys remember that? Or I'm sorry, it was a, uh, have a Sunday. Uh, we had a huge, uh, sinkhole opened up in the parking lot of the chapel hills mall, you know, and so, and the reason is that pipe is about 40, 50 years old and it's reached its, its limit. So we have programs, uh, to monitor our infrastructure. And, you know, we age them, we're watching them constantly. But with a city this large, every time it rains, we certainly had problems. The good news is, and we talked about in this last segment, is that we have a dedicated funding source to do that. So we set aside, uh, money about, uh, 1,000,005 every year for emergency projects because every time it rains, something happened. Yep. So it is a love hate relationship, you know, but uh, okay.

Ted: (19:06)
So we'll give you the politically correct answer. You do love it, but it can, uh, it can make you work some overtime.

So it does, it does, it goes my phone. Every time it rains, my phone is going off. Yeah.

Jen: (19:17)
What about some of the projects you've done when it does rain? It's a serious situation and we of course don't want, um, you know, people to be inconvenienced. But do you have some fun stories about some of the things you've probably encountered when you go out or when you're building different things? Right. There's gotta be some wild things.

Richard: (19:36)
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I got one, I got one, um, that I kind of saved. I just, this just happened a couple months ago. I mentioned the large channel project, $5.2 Million channel project. We had a construction inspector. You out there, they're, you know, they're building so that they're out there inspecting and um, they look over and you know, there's all these boulders and there's like a leg and a foot and it's sticking out of the ground.

Ted: (19:59)
Oh, like a human leg and foot or, yeah. Okay. Yeah.

So this one, this is going to get dark .

Ted: (20:06)
Now I'm intrigued.

Jen: (20:06)

No. So what happens is they're like, oh my goodness. And then, you know, you run over there and it was like just the lower leg of, of a mannequin. But someone had put a sock and a shoe on it and it was buried. It was buried into the grass or buried into the bottom of the channel. And for a split second there, um, we thought that, uh, we thought that, you know, something terrible had happened. So that was, I don't know if that's a funny one, but it's certainly...

Ted: (20:31)
I'll admit it was me. I did it just cause I wanted to screw with you a little bit.

Yeah. So you know, I mean, I guess the moral of that story is please don't throw your trash or your mannequins with shoes and socks into our creeks because for one it hurts the environment in two. It really scares the heck out of all inspect. Don't, don't do that.

Ted: (20:49)
Well, and that leads me into, into my question. Um, we were talking before the show about, uh, interesting things that you find in their mannequin would be one of those, uh, inanimate objects. I'm sure you find debris and yeah. And all sorts of things. Somebody threw a lovely couch down near our stormwater channel. Uh, luckily it didn't make it all the way in. It was just on the trail next to it, but that got cleaned up. Um, but you have a little problem with different animals, so, so go on. Uh, well we'll save the, uh, the pet story. Um, start with the, the sewage smell.

Yeah. We had one, this was in shooks run and kind of these part down eastern part of downtown out there. And we had one where, you know, joggers, walkers thing, man, the storm drain does not smell good. Yeah, it does not smell good. It's not like a nice breezy rain. And so, you know, we went out there and it's like yeah, but there's something going on here. And, and so we're trying to figure out, you know, actually we kinda thought by the way is you know, people putting their dog waste because we actually sees a lot and we'll talk about that later. What, what can you do to help us out? Please don't put the dog waste in the inlet.

Ted: (21:52)
We'll hit on some tips here.

So that's what we kind of thought it was. And you know, so we're kind of looking at, we're looking into it, we're video in the pipe, you know, and we get to an area and we couldn't find anything couple of weeks later, you know, a couple of days later, same complaint. We go out there and now it's a little ways up. And we chased this thing for, for a long time, it was a family of raccoons and they're in there and they're living in the storm drain. And then like every week, you know, the mom, raccoon decide, you know, we're just gonna move north so that they just move, you know, 20, you know, you know, two hundred feet.

Ted: (22:20)
You've gotta be smarter than the raccoons.

And we're just chasing these raccoons. Like it was, can't find it. But it's like, gosh, there's something going on. And finally we have a, a great video with a little camera, you know, that we send into these things. It's got a cool camera, you know, you gotta be a video game player to operate it what you are and we'll get to the sox later. But yeah, and so, you know, we have a great video of this raccoon and her, all her babies kind of looking at us in this video, you know, because yeah. It's like, oh, we found the problem.

Jen: (22:47)
So you do want to hear from people like that?

We do. Yeah, absolutely. Because, you know, first of all, we don't want dog waste in there. We certainly w you know, we have to manage the wildlife in our, in our infrastructure. So let us know because you know, we don't know where ever your family of raccoons lives. So we have to kind of find him .

Jen: (23:03)
And speaking of living things, you said another...

Ted: (23:06)
Well and also quickly before the other living thing, we're going to need that video. Yeah. We want to say the raccoons and we want to put it on .we'll have a webpage.

It's so funny cause the, you know, she's like busted with their little babies. You know, bright eyed and it's like, alright, you're not allowed to live here. We had to give them an eviction notice in 72 hours. You have 72 hours to leave this fight.

Ted: (23:30)
Well the, the raccoons here can read. So hopefully they just went on their merry way. But uh, Jen, what were you,

Jen: (23:37)
oh yeah, what else do you see that's wild?

Yeah. Well we have lots of wild stuff. So the other thing, and I don't know what's going on, to be honest with you, I don't know. Um, I know, I don't really know why this is happening, but we seem to have an issue with [inaudible] with wiener dogs. And I'm not kidding, wiener dog. I'm not kidding you. And, and you know, this has happened in ....

Jen: (23:54)
They fit perfectly in the, in the,

I think they fit perfectly in the inlet. I don't know why, and this has happened several times. I don't know why the little wiener dogs are getting into the, you know, but we've had several calls over the last year or so of wiener dogs and, you know, other kind of smaller dogs stuck in the pipes because they, for whatever reason, I don't know if they're chasing lizards or what, but they're going down into the inlet and then they're lost in the maze of the pipes.

Jen: (24:20)
You know, how do you get them out?

It's kind of, you know, it's like the strategy, you know, you can send somebody in there, try and crawl them, but they gotta be pretty skinny, you know? So, um, you know, we try to bait 'em out with Yo dog treats on a string and stuff. You know, we're just trying to get 'em out of there, you know.

Ted: (24:33)
Multimillion dollar enterprise and we have dog treats on strings,

Jen: (24:38)
whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.

Yeah. It's got a funny, I mean, you know, so, and you know, obviously for the owners of these dogs, you know, if that's a very dangerous thing, you don't want your dog in the, in the drain system. But so we get these calls, it's like, Hey, my dog's in the drain. You know, it's sort of like the fire department has cats and trees. We have dogs that drains, right?

Ted: (24:54)
So, okay, but, but you guys do good work. So let's give them the applause. You're out there saving dogs, dog saving a Richard Mulady over there.

Jen: (25:02)
But for all this work you do, you do need help from residents. You mentioned picking up after your pet. That's an obvious one, I think. Um, but there's some other things people can do. Um, for example, like when they're washing their cars, cutting their grass, why does that matter?

Yeah, please. Okay. So we, we, oh, we have a couple of campaigns that go out throughout the year and they kinda tie to the seasons. One of them is just dog waste all year long. You know, please pick up the dog waste. You know, like I said, we're a huge city. We have, you know, I don't know how many dogs are in our city. I actually don't, but it's gotta be 100,000 or more. I mean, I don't, it's a lot.

Ted: (25:35)
I think it's almost as many as the amount of people.

Yeah, I've heard, I've heard some high numbers. Yeah. So, um, I don't want to give out any more numbers as have already been chastised through your [inaudible].

Ted: (25:46)
You're just lucky that I don't have a stat alarm, so that'll, that'll be coming next. Uh, next episode.

So, you know, one of the thing is please pick up your pet waste because the, that pet waste does eventually find its way into a stormwater drain and then our creeks and it's e coli, you know, and e coli is an issue. It's certainly, um, we want to protect people in our city and keep them safe from, from e coli. And so that would, that really helps us so well.

Ted: (26:12)
And it's different too. Cause I think some dog owners think like, oh, what a, it's natural. It's fertilizer or whatever it may be, but it's not like other manure and whatnot. It does contain, e coli.

That's a nice, that's a great point. I think some people are, they're not doing it maliciously. They just don't. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So, you know, we just try and ask people who do that.

Jen: (26:33)
My is my one action gonna really make a difference in the answer is Yes.

That's a good point. We actually, and we do a lot of events, a clean up events for, you know, dog ways. We clean up. We have a, a little, uh, pet e-coli. It's a little stuffed e coli that we bring around. Yeah.

Ted: (26:49)
We need a picture of that for the web too/.

It's pretty scary. Okay. So we have a lot of other things that we do. We ask people please, uh, you know, during the fall, you know, to, you know, rake and, and bag your leaves so they don't go into the storm drains. People don't realize that the decomposition of, of those types of materials really degrades water quality and hurts aquatic species and other things. Things in the summertime like fertilize and we try to help people understand nothing wrong with fertilizing. I fertilize my own lawn, but you know, certain times that, and at the correct rate, you know, you don't want to fertilize the day before it's going to rain cause all that fertilizer gets washed right off. Don't do you any good. You just wasted 50 bucks a fertilizer and it goes downstream. Fertilizer creates algae blooms that kill everything because it takes the oxygen out of the water. So we tried to do that. So, you know, a couple of things like that. Another thing is you can come volunteer. We have a huge program and I have some great numbers. I'm just going to throw them out there. Yeah. All right. It's like numbers on the radio.

Ted: (27:49)
Yeah. Like I said, you still don't have the buzzer for numbers. So you're your safe for today. I can't even give you an air horn. Okay, go for it. Give me a number.

So let me, let me, I'll give you, so in 2018 we had 86 cleanup events. There you go. So we had 2,428 volunteers, *horn*.

Ted: (28:11)
every number.

This is going to get rough. And they cleaned up, removed from our drainage waterways, 70,000 pounds of trash and debris. *horn*.

Ted: (28:24)
Okay. That's the last one.

So 70,000 pounds, that's 35 ton of trash and debris. And that's just from people coming out and volunteering and, and I'll just, I'll tell you the city we have about, we have a staff that our operation staff about 42 people that have the equipment and they go out and clean and mow and clean facility. That's 2,400 volunteers there. That's a lot of help for us, you know. And so please volunteer. We always have in our websites, we have a great gentleman, his name is Jerry Cordova. Most of everybody on this podcast is probably knows him cause he knows everybody. He's like one of those guys. I hate going anywhere with him.

Ted: (29:01)
We were actually just talking about knows everybody. We got to do a podcast with him at some point.

Richard: (29:05)
Yeah, yeah. He is a recruiter so he does all kinds of flash cleanup, mobs, flash, you know, a flash mob cleanups, all these streets. Yeah. And you know, it's just, it's the opportunity to, to um, you know, give back to the city and try and help and also it helps us. You're one of our main goals and has been for a few years now is incorporate stormwater management facilities into multi-use facilities. Hey, instead of having an ugly concrete channel and instead of piping all this underground stormwater, well, we have a natural channel with the, with a trail next to it, and then we can convey storm the way we need to, to get safe and through our city. But people can enjoy open space.

Jen: (29:46)
It's a win, win. You work with parks department a lot on those projects. Yeah, which is awesome.

Richard: (29:51)
Absolutely. We were actually, we, we actually have some structural ways. I mean we actually have dedicated meetings with them to review all of our projects on a regular basis. So we make sure we're coordinating.

Jen: (30:01)
I just think it's important for people to know that everyone's talking to each other.

Ted: (30:04)
Yeah. We're communication internally is a, is a big thing.

Well we communicate through carrier pigeon so slow, but it's getting better.

Ted: (30:12)
As long as the pigeon doesn't go in the storm drain.

No, we have email, we have email as long as the, yeah. As long as the pigeons don't go into the storm drain.

Jen: (30:18)
We're on online. Now we're online.

Ted: (30:19)
Yeah, yeah. We finally had the budget for the Internet. That's right.

Jen: (30:24)
Richard, thanks for sharing all this great information. Seriously, the funny stuff and the really serious.

Ted: (30:29)
We'll stop this before we go...

Well, it's engineering. I didn't want it to be terribly boring.

Jen: (30:34)
I'll tell you why it's important. It's really important to our daily lives.

Ted: (30:37)
And uh, I think you see how important people find this with the passing of the fee last year. And, uh, and you know, one quick other story. Uh, the news story that came out recently of the guy that goes down and is catching fish and fountain creek. I mean, that's huge to show just how far our water quality has has come.

It is. And I think that that was a great story by though Jerry Cordova knows that guy. It's Hilarious. Of course he does. That's a great story because, you know, obviously we have a lot of issues left, right? We're w w we certainly do have a lot of work to do and I don't, yeah, I don't want to diminish the fact and we have a lot of work to do in our city from a stormwater perspective, but we've also made a tremendous amount of progress. And so it's fun to see some of that progress pay off. When you start to see the health of our creek, creeks, the streams come back and you start to see people enjoying the open waterways walking next to them. And it's nice to see when it rains, like it did last week that we didn't have a major cliff fall and lose somebody's backyard. I mean, it's nice to see the progress. Um, you know, that we're making. Yeah.

Ted: (31:41)
Well, keep up the good work. You're being a good steward of, uh, of, of taxpayer dollars.

Richard: (31:47)
I take it very, very seriously. So, well, uh, we're gonna move on to talking about upcoming events. So I'll let Jen start, uh, start discussing what we have coming up here.

Jen: (31:57)
Yes, we appreciate you listening, but we want to tell you about a few things before we go. Um, that coming up. Labor Day lift off, which I know everyone knows about, but right. Yeah. What you know about Labor Day Lift Off.

Ted: (32:08)
I know about it. I was just giving you the event .

Jen: (32:10)
The balloon glow, the liftoff, Super Fun, family fun, great for all ages. Um, so definitely head to memorial park over Labor Day weekend. Um, the city is a proud sponsor of that event and then there's some new trail work going on, um, on shoots trail, new trail work. It's the first downhill only bike course. So that's kind of a big deal.

Ted: (32:34)
It's gonna be fun for those mountain bikers.

Jen: (32:35)
Yeah, that's right. So check that out more on our website and definitely an air horn for this one. Patty Jewett turned 100 years old.

Ted: (32:46)
This get the combo both airborne and claps.

Jen: (32:48)
That's right. Have you gone oft at Patty Jewett Golf Course?

Ted: (32:51)
I have not.

Richard: (32:53)
Oh my goodness. What?

Ted: (32:54)
I just,

Jen: (32:55)
you're not a big golfer.

Richard: (32:56)
I, I'm going to walk out right now. I'm so sorry everybody. I like golf. Not very good at golf.

Jen: (33:03)
The thing about Patty Jewett, you don't need to golf to enjoy Patty Jewett. You can just go enjoy the food and drink and the amazing views and neighborhood. And so, okay, so you've done that.

Ted: (33:13)
I've tested out their beverage selection.

Richard: (33:15)
And f you do golf. Could you be behind me? Yeah, I would like to be ahead of...

Ted: (33:18)
I will constantly be yelling fore!.

Richard: (33:22)
Maybe I made a poor decision.

Ted: (33:23)
Yeah, exactly. You might want to be behind me.

Jen: (33:26)
Okay. So those are a few things going on. And then Ted, you had one other thing with city council that folks, yeah,

Ted: (33:32)
I do. Back to the music here. Um, we have a, uh, a bear resistant trashcan town hall coming up this week, August 29th, west side community center, six to seven 30 on Thursday, August 29th. And this is West siders, right? This is for West siders. Anyone West by 25, you might want to get information on this. You can also go to that'll give you all the info and you may already be compliant. If you keep your trash in a secure area, um, and take it out on trash date after 5:00 AM and bring it in before 7:00 PM, then you're already being compliant. Um, but we're looking at other ways to, uh, to help some of the bear human interactions over on that side. And we're trying to meet with the community to talk to them about that. So there's my plug. Good. Any other plugs from, uh, from you, Richard?

Richard: (34:22)
Uh, no, I'm plugging-less. Okay.

Ted: (34:24)
Oh, also the socks. Um, just to go back to that reference, he's wearing super Mario socks right now. I'm big on the sock game. You love good socks? Uh, I got some palm trees on mine. Yeah.

Richard: (34:34)
Um, well, I, I give my thought, I give my socks every day. A fair amount of thought, to be honest. I'm kind of ashamed of that, but I do. And so I thought, you know, this has like the extra life thing. Yeah. I thought after this interview I may need, you know, an extra life.

Ted: (34:46)
Yeah, you definitely need an extra life. And just cause this is the radio. It's the Super Mario Mushroom and the stars.

Richard: (34:53)
That's right. Yeah. That's the, give us a superpower.

Jen: (34:57)
I feel left out. I'm not wearing socks. I'll, I'll get on my socks.

Ted: (34:59)
You need to get your sock game up. And that's also what makes Richard so good at controlling the cameras that find the raccoons and that's our stormwater system. Well, thank you everybody. On our next episode, we're going to bring on a city council president who I'm very close with, Richard Skorman and we'll talk, we'll talk basically all things city with Richard. It should be a good, a good conversation. So we're going Richards back to back.

Richard: (35:21)
Yeah, I mean it's a great name. I mean, you can't go wrong with another Richard.

Ted: (35:24)
I don't, I, I don't. And I'll do anybody call you Ricky? Uh, your mom?

Richard: (35:29)
Uh, no, she calls me Rich.

Ted: (35:31)
Okay. Rich, which I, I dunno. Yeah. Rich, I guess. Well, that's a good tease. In the next episode, like I was saying, a stormwater, one word or two next episode, we'll talk to Richard about what people call him if he goes by Ricky or rich. Yeah.

Richard: (35:43)
Well, he goes by president right now.

Ted: (35:45)
Yeah. He's just el presidente. That's right. So, uh, Jen, thank you very much, and other great podcasts in the books. Richard, thank you for being here and dealing with our ridiculousness. And we will see everybody in the next episode.

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