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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Storm water runoff

  There has been controversy about the new storm runoff fee for homeowners.  In January County Executive Ulman submitted legislation to impose this fee on homeowners in Howard County. This fee is designed to generate funds to combat the negative environmental impact of storm runoff to our waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.  Anne Arundel and Baltimore City have been two of the jurisdictions that have  been the most visible in opposition. According the the Gazette newspaper the fee was imposed to,

   "In 2010 the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency ordered Maryland to reduce stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay so that nitrogen levels fall 22 percent and phosphorus falls 15 percent from current amounts. The price tag: $14.8 billion.
And where do we get the $14.8 billion? By taxing so-called “impervious surfaces,” anything that prevents rain water from seeping into the earth (roofs, driveways, patios, sidewalks, etc.) thereby causing stormwater run off. In other words, a rain tax."

  Every time we use nitrogen based fertilizer to make our yards green

  we create the algae "blooms" that choke our waterways of oxygen necessary for supporting a healthy water ecology.  One look at Lake Elkhorn and other lakes in our area show this in dramatic form.


  What can a homeowner do to combat this destruction?  The easiest is to use organic rather than chemical fertilizers.  



      Next consider a driveway material that allows the rain water to seep through to the ground.  This is material that is used in the parking lot at the Robinson Nature Center.

Creating a rain garden is another step to consider.

   I am having a rain garden installed in my yard next week and will be blogging on this next week.  The Columbia Association has received funds that pay 75% of the cost to install a rain garden in residents yards.  

  Finally rain barrels are a way to reduce the storm water runoff and you can contact the County for more information on building a rain barrel.


P.S.
  The Columbia Patch has information on the Howard County gang members arrested today.   I have blogged on the tagging that indicate the existence of gangs in our County.

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