Residents of Prince George's County can get some relief from the Clean Water Act Fee on their tax bills, get some cash in their pockets and help clean up the environment through the county's Rain Check Rebate Program.
Created by legislation sponsored by District 1 Council member Mary Lehman, the program offers cash rebates to homeowners who install various stormwater runoff controls, such as rain barrels and rain gardens, on their property. In addition, property owners can apply for a credit toward their Clean Water Act Fee, popularly known as the rain tax.
The cash rebates range from $50 to $100 for installing a rain barrel to catch runoff from gutters and downspouts; to $5,000 for installing permeable pavement or removing asphalt pavement; and up to $20,000 for installing a green roof vegetated roof system that stores rainwater in its soil.
The county's Department of Environmental Resources is offering four workshops in October to help property owners learn about installing the green initiatives.
The first workshop will be held Oct. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Center, 7120 Contee Road. Additional workshops are scheduled for Oct. 9, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Accokeek Branch Library, 15773 Livingston Road, in Accokeek; Oct. 22, 7 to 9 p.m., at Bladensburg Community Center, 4500 57th Ave., in Bladensburg; and Oct. 29, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Hillcrest Heights Community Center, 2300 Oxon Run Drive, in Temple Hills.
"The point of the rebate program is to encourage people to install these practices," said Carole Barth, a DER planner who is helping organize the workshops. "Eighty-seven percent of the county was developed before we had to do stormwater management, and we have some catching up to do to meet new, stricter mandates."
The county's Clean Water Act Fee is part of the Watershed Protection and Restoration Program to help clean up local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay by filtering out pollutants that end up in stormwater runoff after it rains.
Prince George's and eight other of the state's largest counties, and Baltimore City were required to come up with plans to improve stormwater management to decrease nitrogen and phosphorous by nearly 20 percent statewide.
For more information on the rebate program, go to princegeorgescountymd.gov.