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Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Stormwater a growing threat

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http://m.carrollcountytimes.com/content/tncms/live/

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Stormwater a growing threat

By TIM PRUDENTE tprudente | Posted 20 hours ago

One inch of rainfall on one acre of pavement causes enough polluted runoff to fill most backyard swimming pools.

About 10,000 acres are paved each year in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

These figures were in a Chesapeake Bay Foundation report released Monday that calls runoff pollution a “growing threat” to the nation’s largest estuary.

The foundation is calling on state lawmakers to defend stormwater fees intended to pay for projects to lessen this pollution.

“Runoff is the only source of pollution in the bay watershed that’s increasing,” said Alison Prost, Maryland executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Every four years, an area about the size of Washington, D.C. is converted from fields and forests to buildings, roads and parking lots, according to the report.

Runoff washes across this “armored” land, collecting oil, dirt, trash,pet waste and copper dust from brake pads, according to the report. This can kill fish and sicken swimmers.

“We have a very serious and growing problem to confront,” Prost said.

Runoff from Maryland shores contributes nearly 20 percent of the state’s nitrogen pollution, 23 percent of the phosphorus, and 40 percent of sediment, according to the state’s pollution-tracking website, BayStat.

The release of the report comes one day before a meeting of the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs committee to discuss a proposal to repeal the Stormwater Management — Watershed Protection and Restoration Program.

This 2012 law requires the 10 largest jurisdictions, including Anne Arundel County, to assess fees critics have labeled “the rain tax.”

The Anne Arundel County Council passed a measure requiring annual fees of $85 for most single-family homes, $170 for other homes and $34 for condominiums and town houses.

This money will fund work to build retention ponds and shore up stream banks, among other methods, to slow the flow of runoff. When trapped, rainwater seeps through the ground, which acts as a natural filter.

Opponents, however, say these fees are burdensome and unfair.

“We all agree that stormwater management is needed,” said state Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Pasadena. “Before we go raising more fees or taxes, we should look at existing revenues and make sure we’re applying them properly.”

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Written by vaphc

January 21, 2014 at 9:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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