Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Urban runoff vs clean water

Source: Karl Kleiner
York College of Pennsylvania
Urban runoff, a toxic mix of petroleum products, lawn fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, antifreeze, and all sorts of other things we humans dump (intentionally or not) on our streets, parking lots, lawns, and gutters causes huge pollution issues for our waters. This pollution can impact drinking water downstream from the urban area. The Potomac, James, York, and other rivers carry this deadly mix to the Chesapeake Bay. Once there, these pollutants can help create marine dead zones that have so little oxygen life is impossible.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is conducting a public hearing and receiving comments on Arlington County's application for a new runoff permit that is consistent with the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint. At a minimum the permit should require specific and enforceable goals with public accountability, ensure an appeals process in the event goals are not met, require acceleration of local programs to reduce pollution, and demand thorough and regular monitoring.

Arlington the first of the state's largest localities to seek a permit - it will establish a precedent for other localities so it is essential that the standard it sets is high and adequately protects our waters.

The public hearing is at 10:00 AM on March 22 at the Arlington County Government Building. Public comments will be received until March 29.

Learn more about urban runoff and send your comment to the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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