National Academy of Science Says EPA Stormwater Policy Needs Complete Overhaul

Thursday, October 16, 2008 - 3:59pm
Well, this just came in - National Academy of Science's report on the EPA's stormwater program.  It says it's in total need of an overhaul!  Who knew!

I love their description of stormwater runoff:
"the toxic brew of oil, fertilizers and trash picked up by rain and snowmelt as the water flows over parking lots, roofs and subdivisions."

I'll have to use it on my next creek walk. The report also highlights one of my favorite points - it's not what's in the water that's always bad but the volume and velocity of the water. In the Little Falls Branch, the water is actually not bad, but the stormwater runoff creates little tsunamis that wipe out anything trying to live there, not to mention causes so much erosion and silting that we have habitat loss right here. You don't need to go to the rain forest or north pole to witness. I've pasted the first paragraph of the press release below. If you want a copy of the whole report, you can get it at the National Academy of Science website You can download the whole thing! I'm sure it's interesting reading. By the way, Diane Cameron from the Montgomery County Stormwater Partnership (just one of her many hats) is going to talk to us on November 12 at 7:30 about what we can do to control stormwater runoff. (See events listing on the right for details). There's a lot regular residents can do and money from the county too, so mark your calendars!

Sarah Morse Stormwater Chair

EPA's Stormwater Program Needs a Significant Overhaul

To Improve its Effectiveness and the Quality of Urban Streams

WASHINGTON -- Radical changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's stormwater program are necessary to reverse degradation of fresh water resources and ensure progress toward the Clean Water Act's goal of "fishable and swimmable" waters, says a new report from the National Research Council. Increased water volume and pollutants from stormwater have degraded water quality and habitats in virtually every urban stream system. To provide meaningful regulation, all stormwater and other wastewater discharge permits should be based on watershed boundaries instead of political boundaries. Moreover, the program should integrate stormwater management and land management practices, and focus less on chemical pollutants in the stormwater and more on the increased flow of water.