|Action||Amend Parts I, II, and III of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations to address water quality and quantity and local stormwater management program criteria.|
|Comment Period||Ends 8/21/2009|
I strongly support the enactment of the new stormwater regulations. I am providing these comments to amplify my testimony at the public hearing in Manassas on July 7, 2009. I am a citizen of the Commonwealth concerned about the environment and I am a watershed educator.
Too little is being done to control mounting stormwater pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. Bay. Loading from urban and suburban lands increased 16 percent between 1985 and 2005 and urban runoff is the only pollutant source that continues to grow.
The Soil and Water Conervation Board and DCR have developed the proposed regulations over the last four years with the full participation of a Technical Advisory body with a wide variety of stakeholders. This represents perhaps the most open and publicly-vetted environmental regulatory action in Virginia’s history. The foundation of the regulations are new phosphorus and water quantity limits that are designed to ensure a “no-net stormwater impact” on water quality, stream ecosystems, streamside property, and municipal infrastructure as forests, farms, and existing developments are replaced by new residential and commercial development. The draft regulations are more clear and precise that current regulations. They establish quantifiable, objective standards. Their provisions are based on the most current science, are fully attainable on site, and are consistent with Virginia’s water quality goals and commitments.
As a resident of Fairfax County, I believe that it is important to assure that large redevelopment efforts such as Tyson’s Corner as well as smaller efforts contribute in a positive way to meeting stormwater reduction. I am concerned that the draft regulations require only a 20 percent reduction of phosphorus, while Virginia’s Tributary Strategy states that a 44 percent reduction is required. I urge that the proposed target, which is not really sufficient, be strengthened and not “watered-down” as many developers are urging.
I have the following concerns about the current draft of the proposed Stormwater regulations: (1) They mention the “Virginia Runoff Reduction Method” but this term is not included in the Definitions section of the draft regulations; (2) modifications to the draft regulations may be required for karst areas and for the Coastal Plains. The regulations should explain how these special cases will be addressed; and (3) the regulations should allow individual jurisdictions to set higher (or lower) fees. Costs of compliance monitoring in urban and urbanizing areas are likely to be significantly higher than in rural areas with little on-going development.