Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board
Stormwater Management Regulations AS 9 VAC 25-870 [4 VAC 50 ‑ 60]
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.
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 8/21/2009
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8/21/09  11:03 am
Commenter: Shawn A. Smith

Proposed Stormwater Regulations-DO NOT ADOPT AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed stormwater regulations. I am a native Virginian and a Central Virginia resident with a great appreciation for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. I spent a lot of time growing up out on the Northern Neck and in the waters which surround it. My grandparents have a farm in Westmoreland County which I hope we can continue to keep in the family and enjoy for many years to come. I fully support the effort to work towards a cleaner Chesapeake Bay. There are certainly more things farmers and others in the agriculture community can do with respect to fertilizer and herbicide management, among other sound management practices, to help move us closer to the goal of a healthier Bay. However, there are numerous regulations and programs already in place which are working for the development community. In my opinion more effort and energy should be expended enforcing these existing regulations and give them ample time to show results.
I have a great concern about the proposed stormwater regulations and the impact they would have on our great state’s economic future. I think we are all fully aware of the current state of the economy. As I am writing these comments Governor Timothy M. Kaine is suggesting another $1.5 billion in budget cuts are necessary. So why should we push to enact new regulations which are certain to put an even greater strain business and jobs here in Virginia without any clear evidence they will actually improve the health of the Bay? The Economic Impact Analysis (which provides very little analysis of the impact of these proposed regulations) prepared by the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget with input from Virginia Tech even states that “The costs likely exceed the benefits for one or more other proposed changes”. Under these proposed regulations it would be nearly impossible to achieve pollutant removals economically, even in re-development projects. The regulations as written would encourage sprawl as the TND and Neo-traditional developments which offer such promise become too expensive to build and the incentives for re-development are taken away. Virginia’s growing reputation as a great place to do business will be put in jeopardy. Corporations looking to relocate will take notice.
The “one size fits all” approach of the regulations is concerning as well. No evidence has been presented that those portions of the state which do not drain to the Bay need to adhere to the requirements outlined in these proposed regulations to maintain and/or achieve good water quality. Any water quality issues outside of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed should be addressed based on the specific factors impacting that watershed. In fact very little information has been provided on how the 0.28 lb/yr phosphorous standard was derived in the first place. Assuming it was established specifically for the Bay why would it be applicable for areas of the state which do not drain to the Bay?

At a minimum I would recommend that we do not enact the technical criteria, Part II of the regulations until such time as a more in depth economic impact analysis can be performed, the BMP Clearinghouse issues are resolved and the criteria significantly modified to ensure a balance between the health of the bay and our state’s economic future. The Board and DCR should re-convene the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and allow all of the stakeholders to provide input and have their concerns addressed.


Shawn A. Smith, P.E.

CommentID: 9851