Monday, November 27, 2006

County Stormwater Standards Inadequate

The South River Federation riverkeeper, Drew Koslow, has been keeping his eyes (and Federation water monitoring equipment) trained closely on the effluent running off from the construction site at Parole for the last several months. Photos of the site after 1/2 an inch of rain show silt-laden mud running from outfall pipes into one of the streams that feeds Church Creek.

Existing regulations only require that construction sites control the first inch of runoff. After that, sediment-laden slurry is permitted to be piped directly into local waterways which feed the Bay. According to County Spokesperson, Pam Jordan, "The site functioned as expected with that amount of rainfall." The statement is a brazen indictment of business-as-usual in Anne Arundel County, and a testament to past Administration's lack of seriousness in reversing the Bay's decline.

Somehow, the developer at Parole has been able to keep a graded, 30-acre site, open and exposed for months, without substantial stabilization measures, which in many cases, involve little more than spreading straw and grass seed. The response of outgoing Soil Conservation Chief, Jeff Opel? "There has been an attempt to maintain 50 percent of it in a state of stabilization. Have we achieved that all the time? No." Have fines been meted out to the developer as a result? Not to my knowledge. And, to add insult to injury, the site, which had been dumping sediment into the stream the day before, passed state inspection of county sediment and control enforcement on November 17th.

Existing County stormwater regulations for construction sites are a joke. Unfortunately, the joke's on us.

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