Saturday, November 12, 2011

Storm-Water Fee Proposed in Arundel

Politicians are trying to solve the issue of storm-water that runs off of streets and parking lots. Nearly 1/3 of the nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay that comes from Anne Arundel County is estimated to come from storm run-off that washes fertilizer, pet waste, and other organic debris into local water sources. County council member Chris Trumbauer is proposing a fee on all property owners to finance the pollution controls needed. This $35 annual fee on homeowner’s properties will hopefully help to reduce storm-water runoff. Nonresidential properties will receive a fee based on the amount of rooftops and pavements they have. The fees would go into a fund dedicated specifically to storm-water controls, and would not be used for any other purposes. The money would go towards retrofitting storm drains, replacing pavement, and creating roof gardens. Trumbauer believes that the profit made from this bill will create local jobs and clean up the waterways in this community. The state of Maryland is being pushed to comply with the EPA’s “pollution diet” and every county will experience some sort of funding challenge.
I think that it is a good idea for homeowners to pay a fee for the storm-water runoff from their property, but I’m not sure how well the residents are going to accept it. If the nitrogen waste is caused by their own fertilizers, pet wastes, and organic debris, then it is good that the homeowners will finally become aware of the negative externalities that their wastes have on the environment. It’s important that the Chesapeake Bay becomes less polluted, and Trumbauer has come up with a smart idea for dealing with the funds that are associated with improving water quality. Do you think that residents will agree to pay this $35 fine, or will they fight it?
--Kristen Eisemann

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