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  6:32 pm
Commenter: Mark Huffman, P.E.

Disagree with Proposed Revisions to Stormwater Regulation

As a lifetime resident of the state as well as a licensed professional engineer, I have great concern regarding the proposed changes to the stormwater management regulations.  I believe that if the changes are implemented in their current format, they will greatly harm the economy of the state as well as promote urban sprawl. The modifications to Section 2 of the regulations will require significantly more land, than would otherwise be required, to be utilized in the development of every private and public project in the state - if the standard of purity is considered to be virgin forest, yet the stormwater standards require more trees to be knocked down in order for the standards to be implemented, then I believe that there has been a great error made in establishing those standards.

I believe there is little disagreement that Virginia's waters are of great value and a resource from which many draw benefit, and therefore should be carefully managed.  I believe however that the extreme nature of the proposed revisions regulations are achieving only a minimal amount of positive effect on the waters of Virginia, while exacting a huge toll upon both the long and short term economy of the State.  By the State's own data, new land development is down the list when it comes to contributors to degradation of water resources.  Yet, the cost upon new development will significantly increase the prices of new homes, new schools, new industrial both the near and long term horizons, this is not a desirable outcome relative to the gain.  As a result, projects in Virginia will be at a competitive disadvantage relative to surrounding states.  Is that good for Virginia in this economy?  Every business man and woman in the state makes decisions based upon a cost-benefit analysis, but that does not seem to be the case with respect to the proposed revisions.  While an economic impact analysis was performed, it did not consider the cost of lost jobs nor lost revenues from new projects not being built or bought in the state.  Therefore in my opinion, the analysis is incomplete.

Relative to achieving the highest benefit per dollar, I believe DCR should turn its eye toward agriculture, which by the state's own data, is the single largest contributor to the degradation of the state's water quality.  Some will say there are programs in place to address this industry, however, a program without adequate funding is a program in name only and has no impact upon the issue at hand.

I believe that Section 2 of the existing regulations is adequate in its current form and should be left unchanged. By adopting the revisions to Sections 1, 3 and 13, and therefore implementing the current regulations statewide, DCR will be taking a step in the right direction.  Allow the statewide regulations to be in effect for 5 years, put signficant funding toward dealing with the impacts of agriculture on the state's waters, and then when 5 years have passed, retest the water quality.  It is my opinion that if the two steps I have outlined are undertaken, significant improvement in Virginia's water quality will be observed without driving a stake in the heart of the state's economy.

CommentID: 9915