WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO STOP THE STORMWATER POLLUTION PLAGUE?
1) Make sure that new developments do not increase stormwater pollution by assuring that the County or City of Annapolis or jurisdiction where you live fully enforces stormwater laws requiring environmental site design in all new development and protects forests and vegetated buffers around all streams.
2) Report sediment violations (look for the brown water flowing during a rain event), eroding stormwater channels, deteriorating outfall pipes, broken sewage pipes, and unstable stream banks to the Anne Arundel County Sediment Hotline (410-222-7777). Excessive sediment in runoff is very detrimental to aquatic life in our small creeks and streams, smothering living organisms. Call the same number for the Critical Area Hotline to report tree clearing, sediment runoff, or illegal building: Be sure to call this number before you cut vegetation in the Critical Area.
The Chesapeake Bay Safety and Environmental Hotline is a state-wide toll-free phone number to report an environmental problem–one phone call will now direct citizens to the appropriate agency to make a report 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: call – 1-877-224-7229 to report an environmental violation, fish kill or algal bloom, or illegal fishing activity. It’s the 911 of the Chesapeake Bay.
3) Support efforts to retrofit existing stormwater systems in your community, workplace or house of worship. Many stormwater ponds are failing and can be retrofitted to maximize their potential functions to hold and settle stormwater.
4) If you are a commercial property or business owner or work where there are large areas of impervious surfaces, have your site assessed to see if there are opportunities to retrofit the property – such has been done at local car dealerships, houses of worship, multi-unit housing developments,, and schools. You can reduce your stormwater remediation fee while also improving the health of your local stream and the Chesapeake Bay.
WHAT CAN I DO TO ASSURE THE COUNTY MEETS ITS STORMWATER POLLUTION REDUCTIONS?
SUPPORT THE STORMWATER FEE. You can help reduce stormwater pollution from existing development and make the waters here in Anne Arundel County safer for you, your children, and your pets by supporting the stormwater fee to help the County stem the polluted stormwater from past developments like where you live, work, and drive. After all, the fee was only $51 this fiscal year in Anne Arundel County, less than the county increased most of our property taxes. Tell the County Executive and County Council members to support the fee and stormwater clean-up and tell all candidates running for office this year that we want our creeks cleaned from poisonous stormwater.
Anne Arundel County—and other Maryland counties–have a huge backlog of projects to fix stormwater problems to protect water quality including fixing stormwater ponds that don’t work, correcting severe flooding and erosion problems, fixing stormwater outfalls to minimize pollution, and stabilizing stream banks from erosion. In Anne Arundel, Remember, many of the 33,383 storm drain inlets in the and the 5,215 storm drain outfalls to our creeks and streams need retrofitting to prevent so much pollution. The cost to meet EPA pollution limits: $900 million.
Some stormwater projects that used rain gardens and other improvements to reduce pollutants include the old Rockfish Raw Bar & Grill (now Blackwall Hitch) in Eastport. This was a “zero runoff” project – highly difficult in an intensively developed urban area. It included porous concrete, bioretention cells, and conservation landscaping.
Other successful stormwater projects include Annapolis Hyundai, Koons Toyota, Annapolis Subaru, St. Mary’s Catholic Church parking lot, St. Martins Lutheran Church, Heritage Baptist Church, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and the Anne Arundel Department of Health. The Severn Riverkeeper also managed the Cabin Branch stream restoration project near the Annapolis Mall. Most of these project used state or county funds to assist in the stormwater improvements which both beautified properties and reduced polluted stormwater runoff.