from VACO Capitol Contact newsletter. Jan 28, 2010
Senate Agriculture subcommittee agrees on single stormwater bill
On Jan. 27 a special Senate Agriculture subcommittee recommended that a substitute version of SB 395 (Wagner) be reported. All other Senate bills delaying the implementation date of Virginia’s stormwater regulations by Senators Watkins, Whipple, and Hanger were “rolled into” SB 395.
The substitute version of SB 235 is the product of an agreement reached between a coalition of organizations supporting a delay (including VACo and VML) and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation along with other environmental organizations.
SB 395 now provides that the technical criteria and “local program criteria and delegation procedures” of the stormwater regulations “shall become effective within 280 days after the establishment by the (EPA) of the Chesapeake Bay-wide (TMDL ) but in any event no later than Dec. 1, 2011.”
Locally, a coalition of interested citizens, government agencies and non profits began an effort in January to develop our own TMDL (total maximum daily load) implementation strategy centered on the Rivanna River. The Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC) is taking the lead organizing. Ann Mallek and Lindsay Dorrier represent the County on the RRBC.
The number of bills in the General Assembly is indicative of the complexity of the issue of regulating nutrient and sediment flow into the Chesapeake Bay and also the front line position that localites hold in that regulation and implementation. Local governments will have tremendous responsibilities while holding little power to collect funds to support implementation, except from developments in growth areas. A broad based strategy to make each new property, in rural or growth area, responsible for controlling their own run off, will help. Efforts by many non-profits educate homeowners the benefits of rainwater harvesting, protecting pervious surfaces, and rain gardens to their home landscapes. All these efforts will also help the community control stormwater runoff in neighborhoods and in the countryside.
The rains on January 24-25 were a re-education to all on the power of water. At 10 am Monday, the Mechums and the Moormans were widely out of their banks. The 50 year old lake on our farm overtopped the dam despite 2008 investments tripling the spillway capacity. Brown’s Gap Turnpike was closed temporarily at the intersection with Three Notched Road. Under the BG Tpk bridge, the usual 18-20 foot clearance had been reduced to three feet.
Storm water is an issue we will face in the next several years.