Maryland Passes Tough Stormwater Runoff Controls

Annapolis, MD (May 10, 2007)- Maryland has enacted a law that sets higher standards for new development to reduce the polluted runoff that washes off parking lots, roofs, and roads, to end up damaging streams and polluting the Chesapeake Bay.

The Stormwater Management Act of 2007 was signed into law April 24 by Governor Martin O’Malley along with 172 other bills. It requires the state Department of the Environment to adopt new regulations and a model ordinance to manage stormwater runoff.
Stormwater runoff is the fastest growing source of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Stormwater runoff also carries chemicals and other toxins into Maryland’s rivers and the bay.
The Stormwater Management Act is a fiscally neutral bill that applies to all new major development. It requires developers to use environmental site design as the primary method for managing stormwater, and requires no net increase in runoff from a development site.
The legislation requires cities and counties to update archaic local zoning codes to allow for low impact design techniques.
In also directs the Maryland Department of the Environment to study and recommend the implementation of an appropriate fee schedule to increase enforcement of stormwater laws. The department must also create a comprehensive process for permitting development that will protect state waters from the first groundbreaking to the final stages of development and beyond.
Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Cindy Schwartz said, “You know you’re doing something right when you’ve got environmentalists, home builders, counties, and local residents working together to solve a serious problem.”
“From an economic standpoint, it’s a no-brainer,” she said. “These standards are cheaper for developers to implement and cheaper for taxpayers because they prevent pollution in the first place. This will be a big step forward for the Bay.”
For the full article, visit Environmental News Service.