SPRINGFIELD -- The city of Springfield is taking on the Environmental Protection Agency.
Springfield recently filed a lawsuit against the EPA challenging new rules dealing with storm water runoff.
Citing an unknown pollutant in Jordon, Wilson's, and Pearson creeks, the EPA recently established rules limiting the daily level of contaminants allowed into the waterbeds.
According to the agency, whatever is getting into the streams is harming the macroinvertebrates.
"Its a group of bugs, if you will call it, that the fish feed on and that's what the circle of life is," explained Steve Meyer, the Director of Environmental Services for Springfield.
Instead of locating the source of the problem, the agency wants Springfield to reduce the pollutant by lowering storm water runoff into the waterways.
"In a typical storm you've got to stop 40-percent--that's almost half. You've got to stop 40-percent on every property in the city. Your house, my house, every house in the city," said Meyer.
Meyer adds that businesses and homeowners would have to dig a pond to collect and retain the rainfall. Meyer says it's impossible.
"You can't do it. Even if you could contain 40-percent of the rain that falls on your yard, that isn't going to stop the pollution because it may not even be in the rain."
Although the exact cost of implementing the regulation is unknown, it would be a staggering figure for a city that is already cash-strapped.
"We estimate in our lawsuit between $150 and $300 million, that is we believe a very, very conservative number. The taxpayers are going to be the ones who end up paying for it if we have to do something, because the city doesn't have a funding source," explained Dan Wichmer, the city attorney.
At the end of September, Springfield filed a lawsuit against the EPA. City leaders say the agency is obligated to identify the pollutant. Once that's done, the city can work to remove the source.
"Water is very important to us, but we want something that can be done affordably for our citizens," said Meyer.
The city wants to get an injunction in place. Leaders would like the agency to put the regulation on hold while the issue is in litigation.