My name is Paul F. Hinson, P.E., LEED AP and I have been practicing civil engineering for over 20 years. I believe that there is general agreement in the engineering and development community as well as the general public that water quality is important and that steps need to be taken to protect and enhance water quality. My concern with the proposed regulations is the “One Size Fits All” approach being taken by DCR to address this complex subject. When regulations are adopted that do not allow any latitude for proposing alternative solutions that may provide better overall water quality at reduced costs, we are not doing our best to protect and enhance water quality.
The legislature in the last session passed legislation allowing the use of Nutrient Offsets as a tool to assist in meeting the water quality needs of the commonwealth. It is these types of “Out of the Box” ideas and solutions that are going to help us meet the State’s water quality needs, not more of the same.
I am also concerned with the potential impact these regulations will have on our ability to provide developments with mixed uses and higher densities. It is generally agreed by all that sprawl is bad, but it will happen if water quality is going to be driven by the need to “meet the numbers” on site. More dense developments need less land, less infrastructure and promote non-vehicular transportation.
The proposed regulations are going to increase our use of manufactured BMPs that are constructed out of site and out of mind. It is much easier to ignore the required maintenance if your BMP is not visible. BMPs that are not properly maintained quickly lose their ability to provide water quality treatment.
There must be consideration given to the fact that when development cost go up, everyone pays. This may be in the form of higher rents, more expensive home prices or any number of ways that the cost of development is passed on to the end user. There are many instances where the benefits of treating additional areas or sites that do not have any water quality treatment devices are less costly and allow for better water quality versus on-site treatment. Watershed wide management plans must be an alternative that is considered with any proposed regulations.
In summary, I am against the regulations as currently drafted and urge the legislature to vote no.