by Alicia Pimental
October 01, 2008
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is adopting new regulations to help combat polluted stormwater runoff, the fastest-growing source of pollution to the Bay and its rivers.
The Stormwater Management Act of 2007 will require developers to use state-of-the-art Environmental Site Design practices wherever possible to control runoff and pollution from both new development and redevelopment. Environmental Site Design practices include a combination of:
- Enhanced site planning techniques
- Alternatives to impervious surfaces to allow runoff to soak into the ground
- Buffers of trees and plants along waterways
- Small-scale runoff treatment areas
In addition, local governments must adopt appropriate ordinances to ensure the new stormwater practices are implemented and enforced. Also, redevelopment projects will need to reduce at least 50 percent of an existing site’s impervious area.
“Cleaning up polluted stormwater runoff reduces threats to public health and improves our access to clean rivers, streams, and the coastal and Chesapeake Bays,” said MDE Director of Water Management Jay Sakai.
Stormwater that flows across roads, yards, farms, golf courses, parking lots and construction sites contributes a significant amount of pollution to the Bay. Seventeen percent of phosphorus, 11 percent of nitrogen and 9 percent of sediment loads to the Bay come from stormwater runoff.
Every time we drive our cars, fertilize our lawns, leave pet waste on the ground or forget to fix car leaks, we contribute to pollution in our local rivers, streams and the Bay. You can help reduce polluted runoff to the Bay and local rivers by:
- Picking up after your pet.
- Not fertilizing or spreading pesticides on your lawn and garden.
- Planting native trees and shrubs in your yard.
- Installing a rain barrel to catch gutter water that runs off your roof.
- Using porous surfaces, such as gravel or porous pavers, instead of asphalt for your driveway.