The Ghost of Stormwater Permits to Come

The Ghost of Stormwater Permits to Come

In this holiday season, Scrooge comes to mind, along with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. As I was napping the other day, I was approached by the ghost of stormwater permits yet to come. The ghost transported me into the future and showed me the draft MS4 stormwater permit that MDE has developed for Montgomery County, Maryland.

The new permit has many new stringent requirements for trash reduction, watershed restoration and pollutant reduction for TMDL compliance. The ghost predicts that these more stringent stormwater permits will soon become the norm for most big cities in the Bay watershed. The new permits will certainly present fresh challenges for local stormwater managers, and require innovative strategies to comply with them.

Chesapeake Bay Drainage Stencil
Chesapeake Bay watershed drainage stencil

Thanks to support from NRDC, I was able to compile an  expert report, which analyzed how the next generation of permits could be most cost-effectively implemented. In my mind, the key point is that Bay communities will continue to struggle with these new permits until they can collaborate together on workable strategies to produce real pollutant reductions and water quality improvements.

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This has happened in California, where these permits have been around for several years now. Stormwater managers banded together to implement and test innovative practices and programs, and even formed their own state-wide stormwater association. Which reminds me, we have a fine Chesapeake Stormwater Network here in the Bay which can serve the same purpose.

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