Urban Stormwater Runoff – It Is a Concern Even During Election Season

First order of business for today: Vote. Voting is our collective civic duty and responsibility.

Chimborazo Elementary School Rain Garden

Bacon’s Rebellion is a one of Virginia’s leading politically non-aligned portal for news, opinions and analysis about state, regional and local public policy, so some might find it surprising that over the weekend – just days before a national election in which Virginia could play a critical role in who occupies the White House – readers would learn more about a small rain garden installed by the City of Richmond earlier this summer at Chimborazo Elementary School. Truth is, the City of Richmond has probably been receiving  more negative publicity for it stormwater program as of late than it has for the improvements that the program was created to fund. Recent articles in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other media have stated that collections for the City’s stormwater utility fee have been poor with the City owed $6.8 million in uncollected stormwater fees because many have been unable or unwilling to pay.

Stormwater or “non-point source pollution” is so ubiquitous that it’s the hardest to tackle, says Chuck Epes, assistant director of media relations with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “It’s your back yard, my front yard. … It costs a lot of money to retrofit. … But if we don’t get a handle on stormwater runoff, it will overwhelm the improvements we’ve made on other fronts.” The state has seen big gains with its investment in sewage treatment plants, but  more funding is needed to address the stormwater challenge.

Read more about how the City of Richmond is doing more to clean up the James River than it had four years ago through a number of privately and publicly-funded initiatives and grassroots programs.