- Stricter stormwater requirements
- Arlington well positioned to comply
- Future permits expected to be even more stringent, requiring additional local resources
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) reissued Arlington’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit late Wednesday, June 26. Arlington is the first municipality in Virginia to receive an MS4 permit that includes quantitative pollution reduction requirements to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Arlington has operated under a permit continuance since 2007, while the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) worked to develop pollution reduction requirements for the Bay.
The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which is commonly referred to as the “Bay pollution diet,” requires significant reductions in nutrient and sediment pollution across the Bay watershed.
Arlington prepared for new stormwater requirements
Each MS4 permit covers a 5-year period, and the new permit will be in effect through mid-2018. During this permit cycle, Arlington is required to reduce its share of the nutrient and sediment reductions required by the Bay TMDL by five percent.
“Arlington is prepared to meet the stringent requirements of our new MS4 permit,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “This permit represents a major step forward in the County’s longer-term program to restore our local watersheds and downstream waters, including the Chesapeake Bay.”
The County Board’s adoption of the Stormwater Fund in 2008, and the expansion of the County’s comprehensive watershed management programs have well-positioned Arlington to comply with this MS4 permit.
These programs include Green Streets, stream restoration, street sweeping, stormwater regulations for development, illicit discharge detection and elimination, StormwaterWise Program for homeowners, and extensive outreach, education, and volunteer monitoring programs.
Future reduction requirements will require more resources
The requirements of this permit cycle will be met with the operating and capital resources put in place in 2008 with the Stormwater Fund, which is funded by a tax of $0.013 per $100 of assessed real property value for FY 2014. This represents approximately $70 per year for a residential home with the 2013 average assessment value. Future permit cycles will likely require that this initial investment be substantially increased.
In the next two permit cycles, Arlington will be required to decrease its share of the Bay TMDL pollutant reductions by an additional 35 percent (2018-2023 permit cycle) and 60 percent (2023-2028 permit cycle). In the next few years, the County will need to step up its investments and implementation efforts to keep up with these pollution reduction requirements.
All Chesapeake Bay watershed municipalities face similar requirements
Arlington is not alone in facing these requirements. All Chesapeake Bay watershed municipalities face similar pollution reduction requirements and associated increases in costs for the Bay TMDL.
DCR issues permits for the discharge of stormwater into waterways, such as Four Mile Run and the Potomac River. These permits are referred to as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permits. In response to the continuing impact that stormwater and the pollutants that it carries have on local water quality, as well the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, the new permit contains more stringent requirements than what was in Arlington’s previous permit. Prior to issuing the final permit, DCR held a public hearing and a public comment period in the spring of 2013.
A copy of the permit is available on the DCR website, where you can also read DCR’s fact sheet on Arlington’s new permit.
An annual report of Arlington’s MS4 permit program activities is submitted to DCR. Read the 2012 Annual Report.