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What is Your Stormwater Footprint?

Do you really know how big your ‘stormwater footprint’ is?   If you don’t know now, you will probably know sometime in the near future – particularly if you live in a community contemplating a stormwater utility fee.   The City of Roanoke staff is starting to calculate the impervious surfaces – ‘stormwater footprint’ – for every parcel in the city in preparation for implementing a possible stormwater utility fee.  The staff is looking at each property, in great detail, via aerial photographs and boots on the ground, to confirm their calculations are correct. So the next time you are planning the next neighborhood block party, consider investing in a 200 foot tape  and create a game around measuring your neighbors ‘stormwater footprint’ – could be fun!...

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Depaving to Mitigate Stormwater Runoff

In the engineering and municipal communities, we spend a lot of effort to treat proposed impervious surfaces, and now with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, we will spend even more effort trying to find ways to treat existing impervious areas. Let’s not lose sight of the easiest way to improve stormwater quality; reduce pavement. In the new projects we design we need to cast a critical eye on pavement to make sure that it is needed and serves a purpose. This applies to road and sidewalk widths, parking stall sizes and circulation, and those small areas that are easier to pave than to do anything else with. We need to get this message out: that every square foot of impervious has an impact that needs to be mitigated. This article from the Christian Science Monitor tells how one non-profit group in Orgeon is making an impact by removing unnecessary pavement from urban...

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Stormwater Planning – 2014 is Just Around the Corner?

Stormwater utilities and fees are not a new concept– many areas across the Country have had utilities and fees since the early 1990s – and, with the increase emphasis of stormwater quality, spear headed by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and other mandates, municipalities throughout the Commonwealth need to find alternate sources of revenue to support a local or regional stormwater program.  It’s time to start planning early – 2014 will be here before we know it.  Communities, including the City of Roanoke, see the writing on the walls and are starting the dialogue on how to fund stormwater management requirements and mandates to be handed down as part of the new Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations and/or MS4 permits.  There are many options on the table - a stormwater utility fee, appropriation of the general funds and potential tax increases, and cooperative regionalization of stormwater management.  Regardless of the funding mechanism, one...

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How Proposed Regulations May Impact Local Ordinances

The upcoming regulations will hopefully result in more design flexibility and better stormwater quality. However, for these regulations to work to their fullest extent, localities will need to make changes to development ordinances to fit with the new approach. Here are some examples: The most cost effective way for developers to reduce runoff volume is to never build pavement. However, the local ordinances often drive the need for pavement through required parking, road width, fire access, road and other factors. There is very good discussion of this in the book Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. A few localities in Virginia have started the process of reducing requirements for pavement in their ordinances, but there is a long way to go. The new regulations use sheet flow across undeveloped and landscaped areas as a way to reduce runoff volume. It makes a lot of sense...

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What’s Happening with the Virginia Stormwater Management Program?

If you are trying to keep up with the latest changes associated with the draft Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Permit Regulations Parts I, II and III (4 VAC 50-60) please read on for a concise summary of where the regulations currently stand. ◊  Proposed Implementation Schedule USEPA issued final Chesapeake TMDL on December 29, 2010. General Assembly requires new regulations 280 days from final Chesapeake Bay TMDL – October 7, 2011. Localities have no sooner than 15 months and not more than 21 months after regulations are effective to adopt new regulations  or provide 6 months’ notice for the request to turn review authority over to DCR. The following are the highlights of the latest DRAFT of the regulation regarding water quality and quantity control,   The draft regulation can be found at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/lr2d.shtml.   Note:  These are subject to revision by the Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP), DCR, and the General Assembly.   The next RAP meeting is...

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