Innovations for Managing Stormwater Runoff
By Reed Hellman, Staff Writer
December 5, 2011
Posted in: Green Solutions
Record rainfall during this past spring and summer has served to point out the urgent need for managing stormwater runoff to improve water quality. The two interrelated issues are part of Smart, Green & Growing, an initiative introduced by Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2008 to foster a smarter, greener, more sustainable future for Maryland.
“We’ve got to have clean water,” stated Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers at the recent Clean Water Innovations Trade Show. “It really is the foundation of our economic health.
“The Chesapeake Bay is the geographic and economic center of our state. Our public health and economic health depend on clean water — it’s absolutely critical to our future,” he said.
Summers went on to say that most of the state’s urban areas were not designed with stormwater control plans and that restoring the Chesapeake Bay also protects groundwater and drinking water.
Businesses, together with local governments, developers and other stakeholders, are working to find cost-effective and efficient ways to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and improve water quality. That push to enhance regional water quality has led to the development of a range of techniques, products and technologies.
Traditional impermeable pavements can create destructive, often toxic runoff. PaveDrain, a permeable articulating mat of concrete blocks marketed by Ernest Maier Inc., a Bladensburg masonry block manufacturer, creates an aesthetic and durable pavement integrated with a stone reservoir underneath that temporarily stores surface stormwater runoff and allows it to percolate into the subsoil. Gaps between the blocks channel the runoff and the block’s arched shape creates a reservoir for increased storage during heavy runoff events.
The system promotes a more natural, vertical infiltration path, recharges local groundwater, reduces first flush pollutants and filters out suspended sediments, according to the company.
Flexible Mats Provide Life-Cycle Savings
PaveDrain’s durability and savings in life-cycle stormwater management expenses can make it a very cost-effective alternative to traditional pavements. The flexible mats can be pre-assembled in a variety of configurations or customized for specific applications. Installation requires only conventional construction equipment.
As of April 2012, the City of Fredericksburg, VA was negotiating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the scope and budget of a study of the Rappahannock River’s build-up of sediment, which continues to hinder aquatic life, raise concerns that it could make floods worse, and impair the use of the city’s riverboat. Even though about 300,000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment was removed prior to the breaching of Embrey Dam (upstream of the city) in 2004, the sediment problem around the city seems to have worsened since then and complaints have been raised that more sediment should have been removed along the dam. Various local organizations, such as the Friends of the Rappahannock and the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority, have identified river sediment as a problem. Amidst these developments, a Stafford County man and his Tennessee partner have proposed a three-year plan to remove about one million cubic yards of sediment from a five-mile stretch of river, at no cost to the City. The men propose to sell commercially valuable sand and gravel that would be included in the removed material.
Blog post by araflo April 25, 2012
Virginia Water Central News Grouper
Written by: Cory Nealon
February 9, 2012
Virginia lawmakers declined to back a $300 million bond package that would fund wastewater treatmet plant improvements in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The bond, which passed unanimously in the Senate, hit a wall Wednesday in the House of Delegates. An Appropriations subcommittee voted to shelve the matter until next year.
The decision is a setback for environmental groups, localities, sewer authorities and others that want to use bonds to help pay for upgrades that would reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges in the bay and its tributaries.
The legislation springs from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 15-year effort to restore water quality in the bay, where algae blooms, fish kills, and beach closures occur every year.
The EPA directed six watershed states, including Virginia and the District of Columbia, to devise ways to reduce pollution. In addition to targeting wastewater treatment plants, states are clamping down on agricultural operations, stormwater runoff and other sources.
Source: Fairfax Times
Feb 3, 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation have made some changes to the watershed implementation plan to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, but it still will take a significant county investment to meet the new goals.
If the county implements its existing watershed management plans, it can meet the goals, said Kate Bennett, of the stormwater planning division of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. However, it also means implementing the 30-year plan in about half the time.
Paying for all the needed stormwater projects most likely will require an increase in the county’s stormwater fee — 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed value for homeowners. It could take 4.5 to 5 cents to meet the needs, said Randy Bartlett, deputy director of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.
That amounts to about $100 million per year, through 2015, he said, compared to the about $30 million the county now is taking in.
The county is continuing to consider additional strategies that could help keep taxpayer costs manageable as negotiations between the state, localities and the EPA continue
during the next year.