New Clean Water Act Permit a Step Toward Clean Rivers in DC

The single biggest source of pollution in the Anacostia River is stormwater runoff.  Perhaps the most important regulatory framework designed to reduce stormwater polution is the MS4 permit (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System), which is issued to DC directly by EPA Region 3.  AWS and its allies have been engaged in a years long campaign to strengthen this permit - a campaign that is finally coming to fruition today with a 1:00pm release event at Yards Park.

DC Combined Sewer / Separate Sewer Map
The new DC MS4 permit covers the separated sewer system, shown in white

Prince George's County clean water public meeting

On Tuesday, August 16, 2011, Prince George's County government will hold a public meeting on their plans to meet federal clean water requirements.

August 16, 2011, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Prince George’s County Soil Conservation District
5301 Marlboro Race Track Road, Suite 100
Upper Marlboro, MD

Join AWS, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Clean Water Action, and other Prince George's County activists
Monday, September 12, 2011 at 6:30pm, at the Anacostia Watershed Society offices in Bladensburg, the Prince George's Clean Water Coalition will hold a kickoff meeting to connect with other county activists regarding campaign efforts for clean water in the county.
Anacostia Watershed Society
4302 Baltimore Ave
Bladensburg, MD 20710

Prince George's County Passes Stormwater Bill!

 

The Short Version

On Tuesday, July 19, 2011, Prince George's County Council took an important step forward by unanimously passing a new stormwater ordinance (CB-15-2011).

Our biggest champions were Transportation, Housing and Environment (THE) committee chair Eric Olson (District 3) and THE member Mary Lehman (District 1); both worked hard to improve the bill after the original draft of CB-15 handed down by County Executive Rushern Baker was a disappointment to environmental and community organizations.

Streambank erosion in Paint Branch (College Park) caused by severe stormwater flows
Streambank erosion in Paint Branch (College Park) caused by severe stormwater flows

CB-15: A good compromise for clean water?

On June 20, the Prince George's County Council's THE committee approved a set of modest improvements to CB-15, the stormwater management bill.  Don't believe what you are hearing from County Executive Baker and certain council members that this a "good compromise."

UPDATE: Prince George's Stormwater Bill

On June 20, 2011, the Prince George's County Council's THE Committee (Transportation, Housing, and Environment) met to consider CB-15, the stormwater management bill, for the third time in 12 days.  If you have a wet basement or erosion on your property this bill should be of interest to you.  Communities like Edmonston have flooded because of poor past development practices that would be fixed by a strong stormwater bill.

Donna Edwards supports green infrastructure, will you?

Represenative Donna Edwards is a big part of the Anacostia River's fantastic House Delegation (which includes Chris Van Hollen, Steny Hoyer, and Eleanor Holmes Norton).  Everyone in our delegation is a big supporter of the river, but Represenative Edwards is noteworthy for her longstanding support of green infrastucture.  In an interview published today, she makes several statements very relevant to our current legislative efforts in Prince George's County.

At a time when the region is embracing green infrastructure, the Prince George's stormwater bill (CB-15) offers a redevelopment standard that is "too little, too late" for the economic, aesthetic, and environmental health of county communities.  A healthy community has all of the following: a healthy economy, a healthy environment, and green and attractive areas to live, work, and shop.  An improved CB-15 could help the county realize that vision.

Rep. Donna Edwards at the groundbreaking of Edmonston's green street (courtesy Town of Edmonston)

Tell Prince George's County Council It’s Time For a New Day

Tuesday, June 14, at 11:30am, in room 2027 of the County Administration Building, the Transportation, Housing and Environment (THE) Committee of the Prince George's County Council will consider a bill that will impact development and redevelopment in the county for a generation. Tell the committee that the time for low standards in Prince George's is over! The county deserves the best and should demand it from developers as part of our path to greatness.



The Northeast Branch during normal flow (top) and during a significant rain event (bottom).

Make Your Voice Heard on Quality of Life in Prince George's County

This Thursday, June 9, 2011, at 10:00am in room 2027 of the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro, the Prince George's County Council will hear CB-15-2011.  This bill will set standards for stormwater management on future developments in the county.  What's at stake?  Whether the county will build green or build gray.
 

June 9 - Prince George's County Council committee hearing on stormwater bill

The Prince George's County Council is once again taking up the issue of stormwater management, after voting to table needed legislation in the fall.  (The county is currently out of compliance with state law and has been for over a year.) 

Stormwater is the polluted runoff that comes from roofs, roads, and parking lots when it rains, carrying trash, debris, and pollutants into storm drains that empty directly into the Anacostia River.  Polluted stormwater runoff flows into the Anacostia from parking lots and other impervious surfaces in developed areas because current county law does not require adequate stormwater management.  These insufficient stormwater management requirements mean that developers get to build projects without properly accounting for the stormwater runoff and water pollution generated by their projects.  If sewage treatment plants, factories, and other polluters have to clean up their pollution, why do we let developers get away with water pollution that kills our streams and floods our communities?  Remember, existing development has caused existing problems.

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