Legislative Issue: Stormwater Permit Compliance
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Protecting the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's streams and rivers is always a priority for the CCE, and this session one of the areas we are targeting is stormwater which carries pollutants, sediments, and excess nutrients into our waters.
The Chesapeake Bay is listed as an “impaired water body” under the Clean Water Act because of poor water clarity. Poor water clarity, which is caused by too much sediment and nutrients in the water, can be the result of polluted runoff into our rivers, creeks and streams. This poor water clarity has caused submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) to drastically decline. It has affected the health of the overall Bay.
The Stormwater Manual put in place by the Maryland Department of Environment was a good first step, but to actually affect improvement in stormwater runoff, best management practices need to be monitored for compliance. The current storm water guidelines presume compliance without requiring any actual testing to ensure it. Also, current practices tend to delegate broad interpretive powers to local jurisdictions that do not always monitor the actual impact of the permitted construction activities on nearby surface water.
The legislation, Environment - Stormwater Management - Inspections and Water Quality Standards (introduced in 2005 as SB 688) would require Maryland Department of the Environment to modify and improve existing rulemaking to put better performance criteria and enhanced regulatory standards into the statewide storm water management guidelines. This would include actually testing water in streams and rivers during and after new construction to help ensure that sediment and storm water management practices do not impair our water resources.
For more information:
Fred Tutman. Patuxent Riverkeeper. 301-249-8200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Charland, Assateague Coastkeeper, 443-235-2014, email@example.com
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